How do caregivers take care of themselves? By joining a caregiving support group.
Caring for a loved one such as a parent or a partner can feel isolating. The emotional and physical energy required to be a caregiver can leave you drained. It can also lead to neglecting your own health, leading to depression, anxiety, and feeling burnt out.
There are over 43.5 million caregivers in the U.S. performing unpaid care for their loved ones.
Of those 43.5 million caregivers, many devote 20 hours or more per week, which is equivalent to working another part-time job, on top of trying to manage their own life, relationships, and families.
Below we’ll list the many benefits of joining a caregiving group, explain what happens in a typical meeting session, and give you the resources needed to find the best caregiving group for your specific needs.
The Benefits of a Caregiving Group
Caregiving groups are an encouraging environment where caregivers can share stories about loved ones and offer advice and guidance to those experiencing similar situations. It can be reassuring knowing others are going through the same struggles you are, to know you’re not alone.
Caregiver support groups offer an environment where people can openly discuss their frustrations and learn helpful advice from others who also have experience with caregiving.
It can teach you new ways to care for your loved one, learning from others’ stories. Below are some of the benefits of joining a support group:
You Are Free to Vent
Venting is an important part of the meetings. It’s valuable to voice your feelings out loud, rather than hear them all day in your own mind in an unfocused state. By expressing yourself verbally with others around you, and being acknowledged, you can start to feel relieved and feel understood.
Something To Look Forward to On a Regular Basis
Attending your group session, whether in person or online, gives you something to look forward to on a weekly, or monthly basis. A change of pace and friendly, helpful discussion can be beneficial for breaking up the monotony of the same daily routine. A weekly session can be something to look forward to, to give you hope, and offer a new perspective on your situation.
You Are Surrounded by Like-Minded People
You are not alone. There are millions of people out there like you. And this is a great way to connect with those people to create lasting friendships. Perhaps even your family members don’t understand what you’re going through. How could they if they haven’t walked in your shoes? But at group sessions, you are understood and validated by those who have experienced similar situations.
Learn How to Provide the Best Care (For Yourself and Your Loved One)
Meetings are run by a facilitator, who in many cases is a social worker. These are professionals trained in dealing with grief, trauma, and depression. The facilitators are there to help you, and provide advice on how to provide better care for your loved one.
The support groups can provide many resources, such as books, pamphlets, brochures, as well as referrals to other mental health services to help take care of your body and mind.
What Happens at Caregiving Support Groups?
Every group is different, however it’s common for groups to meet weekly or monthly and for sessions to last about 1-2 hours.
Usually the facilitator will ask everyone to introduce themselves and to share their situation with the group. After that, the meeting will go into a free discussion allowing members to ask specific questions and share stories with each other under the guidance of the facilitator.
Where Do You Find a Local Caregiving Group?
More people are increasingly joining online support groups. Contact The Kensington to inquire about upcoming groups we host and other resource recommendations open to the greater Sierra Madre community. Visit our events page or email our Executive Director, Cc Degraff.
Click here to learn more about Caregiver Connect, our regular group meeting virtually during COVID.
Local doctor’s offices, hospitals, and community centers usually have bulletin boards and informational brochures for support groups. Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging that helps people find support by zip code. Facebook is also a great resource for finding resources in your area.
Kensington Konnect is a hub of great resources for caregivers and seniors to use. Konnect offers healthy recipes, inspirational books, good news, music, and other information to help benefit your body and mind.
The Kensington Promise
There comes a time when your busy schedule can leave you feeling mentally and physically exhausted, leading to burn out. It’s important that you, the caregiver, give yourself as much patience and compassion as you give to your loved one.
Joining a support group is a great first step to alleviating the stress related to caregiving. If you have joined a support group, but still feel that you need extra help in caring for your loved one, please give us a call today to learn how The Kensington can help provide additional care.
At The Kensington, our promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.
To learn more about our exceptional assisted living and memory care at The Kensington Sierra Madre, click below or give us a call today for any questions. We promise to love and care for your family, as we do our own.