7 Reasons Why Caregivers Should Consider Joining a Support Group
As a caregiver, you have probably been reminded many times that you must make the time to take care of yourself, too. After all, if you aren’t healthy, then taking care of another person becomes nearly impossible. But it might feel as though you’ve simply been issued another assignment, just one more task to cram into your already packed schedule. “Take care of yourself” sounds like a good idea, but its practical applications can present yet another obstacle.
That’s why it’s so important for you to find a good caregiver support group. Support groups fulfill many important purposes, but the “group” part is the most important. Through a support group, you can take care of your own needs, but you aren’t doing it alone. You are supported by a group of people who are experiencing, or have experienced, very similar life situations. They, too, are providing care to someone with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or a terminal illness.
A support group might meet on a weekly or monthly basis, for just an hour or two, but the benefits can be numerous:
- Access information from people who are further along in their caregiving journeys, and therefore have valuable insight to offer
- Keep you “in the know” about news and opportunities pertaining to your situation
- Find fulfillment in helping others, who are just beginning their caregiving roles
- Learn about community resources that can help you and your loved one
- Break up your routine, and help you expand your social life
- Prevent boredom, loneliness, and depression
- Help you establish a network of caring friends, whom you can call for help or support outside of meetings
Of course, many caregivers find it difficult to get out of the house and attend regular, in-person meetings. Online support groups are accessible 24 hours per day from the comfort of your own home, making them the ideal fit for caregivers with little free time. It’s really best if you can find some way to make it to real-life gatherings, at least occasionally, but online support groups can help to fill in the gaps between meetings.
As a member of one of our Hospice of the Valleys support groups so eloquently said, “I lost my husband five months ago and the first Christmas without him is going to be hard. But this group let’s me come back. They walked me through my caregiving and they are and have been a blessing and a lifesaver. That’s why I keep coming, so I can be of help to those who are just starting to provide care to a dementia patient. It makes all the difference.”
As a trusted member of our community, Hospice of the Valleys, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) has been providing hospice care to the Inland Valley and Fallbrook for over 34 years. Please call us for senior community resources, or for information about hospice care. We’re here to help. 951-200-7800.