In the past year, nearly 43.5 million people have taken on the role of a caregiver. Typically, these caregivers are responsible for providing support to either an adult or child who cannot care for themselves in some capacity. The role of a caregiver is taxing and is often not a paid position for the caregiver.
Caregiver support groups have been formed to help provide an outlet and support network for caregivers. Caring for another individual is demanding both mentally and physically. Because of this, caregivers need to surround themselves with individuals experiencing the same things.
In this article, you will learn what caregiver support is, the purpose behind it, and why it is important to find a caregiver support group when you take on the role of a caregiver.
What is Caregiver Support?
Several agencies provide in-home support to individuals that are unable to care for themselves. They have the title of caregiver, but outside agencies employ them. Most caregivers are family members who have been put in charge of caring for an individual who cannot do so.
Individual caregivers are often not compensated for their work and often experience a high level of stress. Because of this, support networks have been formed to help provide an outlet for caregivers to share their experiences.
(Source: Aging Care)
How Can Caregiver Support Help?
If you are in the role of a caregiver, you may be wondering how a support group can help you navigate a caregiver’s role. There are many ways a support group can help, but the most common ways it can help are: providing socialisation, offering support through tough times, giving a break, and providing resources.
Socialisation is important when you take on the role of being a caregiver. When you are a caregiver, you will likely spend time with a family member, but it is very easy to become isolated. On average, a caregiver will spend 30 hours a week or more with the person they oversee caring for. This leaves very little time for self-care and downtime. Support groups can help provide this outlet.
Tough times are common when it comes to being a caregiver. You must remember you are watching your loved one go through challenging times, and there will often be feelings of helplessness, not to mention the emotional fatigue that can set in by watching a slow decline day in and day out.
When you are a member of a support group, chances are there will be people who can relate directly to what you are going through. These relationships can help provide a much-needed respite from the situation you are in.
Taking breaks can seem almost unheard of in the life of a dedicated caregiver. There are often feelings of guilt that come with taking a break, even if it is much needed. When you join a caregiver support group, you are essentially allowing yourself to take a small break without feeling guilty.
Resources are crucial to survival when you are a caregiver. It is common to think that you can do it on your own or that you must do it on your own, but the truth is you will need resources to ensure you can maintain the proper physical and mental stamina to meet the needs of the individual you oversee. Resources can also help you to understand better how to handle the new stresses you may be experiencing.
As you can see, a caregiver support group can be crucial when it comes to your ability to balance the role of being a caregiver with finding time for yourself.
What is the purpose of a caregiver support group?
A caregiver support group can provide many necessary resources and an outlet for those while being a caregiver. The overall purpose of a caregiver support group is to provide a safe place for caregivers to unite as they face the challenges of providing care for another individual.
When you are a caregiver, there are very few people that will truly understand what you are going through unless they have also walked the journey. Because of this, it is easy to become isolated and depressed by the stress and monotony you may be experiencing. Being with people who are experiencing the same thing will help you navigate the waters of being a caregiver.
Where can I find a Caregiver Support Group?
You may be wondering where you can access a caregiver support group. Depending on the condition of the individual you are providing care for, there is likely a support group that has been specifically created to address the needs you may have. The most common areas for caregiver support groups are elder care, mental health, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, as well as several other more specialized groups.
Eldercare groups are best suited for individuals that oversee caring for an older adult in their life. There are branches of eldercare groups that can offer more specialized support as well. For example, if you are a working person providing care, there are other individuals you can connect to.
Mental health care groups are groups that have been formed to help provide support to individuals that are living with and providing care to people that are diagnosed with a mental health condition. The support needed as a caregiver to someone suffering from a mental health diagnosis can be extremely overwhelming and different from other caregiver situations, which is why a specific group has been formed.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia care groups are to help support individuals caring for someone diagnosed with either of these ailments. Caring for an individual with this diagnosis can be extremely demanding and emotionally draining, so a strong support system is necessary.
Specialised care groups are formed to help offer support to individuals that are caregivers in more technical areas. For example, suppose you provide care for a terminally ill patient. In that case, there is likely a caregiver support group specific to their diagnosis, whether it be cancer, Parkinson’s, or some other debilitating disease.
If you are unsure of where to find a support group, you can always reach out to your local department of human services agency or the hospital. If they cannot give you contact information for a specific group, they are likely able to point you in the right direction.
Is There a Charge for Being in a Caregiver Support Group?
When you are in charge of caring for another individual, the last thing you want to do is spend extra money. The good thing about a caregiver support group is that it is typically provided free of charge.
What Makes Being a Caregiver so Difficult?
Initially, the thought of being a caregiver for someone that you love may seem like quite an easy task. However, as time passes and the quality of life begins to deteriorate for the individual you are caring for, it becomes extremely stressful.
When you begin to experience this stress, it is important to have a strong support network to help hold you up. Sometimes just having people around that are going through the same thing is enough to offer comfort.
Caregiver support groups are put into place to help provide a network that can offer support and resources to individuals who have taken on a caregiver’s role. These groups can be invaluable to someone that is walking through this journey. It always helps to know you are not alone when things become challenging.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this Blog article are not intended to amount to advice, and you should not rely on any of the contents of this Blog article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this Blog article. OccupationaltherapyBlog disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this Blog article.