Caring for an older parent or loved one is an experience of mixed emotions. The family caregiving role can bring immense joy and untold rewards, but it can also feel frustrating, overwhelming, and isolating. The most important thing to remember as a family caregiver is that all of these emotions are normal. Caring for an older loved one is a journey that brings about a wide range of emotions, and incorporating strategies to effectively deal with the responsibilities of caregiving is critical.
Family caregiver support groups are an excellent resource that can help family caregivers navigate the rewards and challenges of family caregiving. These safe spaces allow people to not only vent frustrations in a safe and nonjudgmental environment, but they also offer real-time problem solving, useful advice, and information about local resources.
Each support group has its own personality so it’s important to find one that meets your needs and where you feel comfortable. The following tips can help ensure you find a group that is a good match:
Research local support groups. There are many options available when it comes to family caregiver support groups. Organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association, American Heart Association or the Parkinson’s Foundation may sponsor support groups in your area. Additionally, religious organizations, health care systems, senior communities, or even local therapists may also coordinate regular family caregiver support groups. Identify several options and contact the coordinator by phone or email to get more information about the group. Select a couple of groups that you think might meet your needs and plan on attending.
Attend several sessions. Making a judgment about how a support group meets or doesn’t meet your needs often requires that you attend two or three sessions. The personality of the group may change based upon who is attending each week, so it’s important to attend several times in order to get a feel for the group and the attendees, and to determine if it’s a good fit.
Online support groups. If an in-person support group doesn’t fit your needs or work with your schedule, another option is to seek out an online support group. Online groups not only offer much more flexibility, but they also increase the likelihood of finding a group that meets your specific needs. Online support groups may meet via Zoom and/or may have private social media pages or other online forums where participants can share information, questions and resources. As with any online interaction, be sure to take precautions when communicating with people you don’t know and never share personal information such as your Social Security number, address or financial information.
Identify a trusted confidant. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to speak with a therapist one-on-one instead of or in addition to attending a support group. Talk therapy can be especially helpful if there is a particular issue in caregiving that you’re seeking to overcome, or if there is a disagreement with siblings or other family members about care options for an older parent. In addition to a licensed family therapist, one-on-one support can be found from leaders in your local church, temple, or place of worship, or from a trusted friend or family member. The most important qualification when seeking one-on-one support is that the individual listening to you provides the support you need, free from criticism or judgment.
At Visiting Care Giving Services, we understand how important it is for family caregivers to feel supported in their roles. That’s why we offer trusted in-home care services that help family caregivers take the time needed to attend support groups or any other activities that help them prioritize self-care. Our team is here to provide a variety of care services, from friendly companionship to specialized in-home nursing care, and everything in between so that family caregivers can take time to rest and recharge.
To learn more about our St. Charles home care services, reach out to Visiting Care Giving Services today at (636) 493-9058. Our team is here to support family caregivers with creative and compassionate care solutions in St. Charles and the surrounding communities.