Caregiver support groups have significant positive effects
Any caregiver who’s felt stressed, confused, overwhelmed, depressed, or burned out would benefit from a caregiver support group. Studies have shown that support groups have a significant positive effect on caregivers’ well-being, depression, and feeling of burden.
Attending a caregiver support group is an effective way to reduce stress because you get a chance to vent to people who truly understand, get useful advice, and find out about helpful local resources.
But it might be intimidating to walk into a room full of strangers and talk about your caregiving situation. That’s why we’ve got an overview of why it’s worth your time, how a typical meeting works, and where to find a group in your area.
Why caregiver support groups are worth your time
- Learn valuable caregiving tips and resources from social workers or experienced caregivers.
- Get support and advice to help you make difficult decisions or deal with family conflicts.
- Give and receive advice on how to manage challenging behavior – you know, when your older adult drives you crazy.
- Find out how other caregivers make time to care for themselves.
- Laugh and cry with people who really get it. We all need an emotional release every now and then.
How caregiver support group meetings work
- Who leads the meeting? A facilitator, usually a social worker.
- How often do groups meet? Each group has a regular schedule – usually weekly or monthly on the same day, time, and location.
- What if I miss a meeting? No problem, you don’t have to go regularly. Just attend when you can or when you need extra support.
- Do I have to talk? No, it’s completely optional to share. If you’d prefer not to speak, that’s absolutely ok – just let the facilitator know.
- How long do they last? Meetings usually last about two hours, but don’t let that keep you from attending. Talk to the facilitator if you need to arrive late or leave early.
- What happens during a meeting? The facilitator usually asks each person to introduce themselves and talk about their caregiving situation. After that, anyone can ask questions, ask for advice about specific situations, or bring up topics for discussion.
How to find a local caregiver support group
- Local hospitals or community centers almost always have handouts with lists of local support groups, check there first.
- For support groups that are focused on specific conditions, check the websites for information about local meetings. Popular sites include:
- Enter your zip code in the Eldercare Locator to find the Area Agency on Aging for your city. Call them to ask about local support groups.
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Prince William County Virginia