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Benefits of Support Groups for Family Caregivers

June 20, 2022
Categories: News | Caregiver Support

Support Groups for Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s and Other Forms of Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult to manage, not only for the person living with the disease, but for their loved ones. Seeing someone important to you slowly withdraw and need increasing care can be a tremendous emotional challenge. This is especially true for the loved ones who also serve as primary caregivers.

It’s estimated that over 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to increase in the decades to come. Also, more than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. This adds up to more than 16 billion hours of care over the course of a year, which is valued at almost $272 billion.

Even with all those people providing care, caregiving can often be a lonely and isolating endeavor. Providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s is obviously stressful, and can leave the caregiver feeling overwhelmed by the ongoing and often difficult list of caregiving responsibilities. This is why it’s so important to learn about the benefits of joining a caregiver support group.

This blog will explain the benefits of support groups, and how to find local support groups near you.

Signs That Caregivers Could Benefit from Support 

  •     Feeling overwhelmed
  •     Feeling physically and emotionally exhausted
  •     Feeling isolated
  •     Not having enough time to research ways to provide better care
  •     Feeling guilty for what you perceive is inadequate care
  •     Being unaware that there may be professional resources that can help you
  •     Spending too much money, or not having enough to pay for professional help
  •     Getting sick or not taking care of your own health because you focus solely on your loved one
  •     Feeling too embarrassed to admit you could benefit from help

How Caregivers Support Each other

Joining a support group may seem unnecessary or even uncomfortable at first. The thought of sharing your feelings about your caregiving responsibilities with people you’ve only just met might be awkward. But, like any support group, when you first attend a meeting, you don’t have to actively participate right away. You can simply listen to others who are accustomed to the process speak with each other, share experiences, ideas, advice, and offer each other emotional support.

The group is likely to meet regularly, perhaps once a week, and a single topic may be presented as the main point of discussion for that particular meeting. Even before you become comfortable enough to share your story and even one day provide help to others, you can gain perspective when you find similar experiences are happening to others, too.

Support Groups Provide Practical Information

Family caregivers know how physically and emotionally exhausting their responsibilities can be. Much of the stress felt can be from all the research a caregiver has to do to find answers to all the unknowns that lay ahead. When you first join a caregiver support group, you’ll no doubt meet people who have researched or experienced some of these unknowns, and can help you by providing answers.

Caregivers could greatly benefit from assistance from health care aides, or professional care managers. There are also likely to be Memory Care  facilities near you that you can take advantage of. Caregiving responsibilities can quickly become overwhelming, and it’s important to avoid caregiver burnout. If you become physically and emotionally too exhausted to provide adequate care for your loved one, you both could suffer. Artis Senior Living can be your partner, by your side, providing support, education and insight every step of the way.

By sharing your experiences with others in a support group, you’ll hear their perspectives, what they’ve tried that has worked for them, and what hasn’t worked, and find out about any professional help available in your area.

Take Advantage of All the Benefits of Joining a Caregiver Support Group

The doctor who provided the diagnosis of any form of dementia will have information and resources you need. Be sure to ask for any literature or website recommendations when you’re at an appointment. Also, the National Institute on Aging has a division called the Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Education and Referral Center (ADEAR). They can help you locate professional services near you, as well as give you information to help you understand the disease, the symptoms, treatments and clinical research trials.

A support group will introduce you to others who share your caregiving responsibilities, but it will do much more than that. It can improve your quality of life, and therefore the quality of life of the loved one in your care. You’ll receive emotional support from like-minded people who understand what you’re going through. You’ll reduce social isolation, build friendships and learn ways to avoid caregiver burnout. 

You can gain a sense of control over your situation, and as you grow in experience you’ll eventually be able to provide help to others.

Memory Care The Artis Way

Artis Senior Living is your partner in memory care. With 27 communities in 11 states, we provide care all over the United States. Most of our communities are dedicated to caring for seniors living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Our expert care partners are specially trained to keep your loved one safe and comfortable. We also incorporate the latest technology, and continually evolve our methods, equipment and expertise to provide our residents with the quality of life they truly deserve. 

Our unwavering philosophy is based on the commitment to the partnership we form with our residents. Each resident is a special and unique individual who is defined by ability rather than by limitation. Every team member knows our residents’ individual needs and preferences, and every resident receives an individual partnership profile. We communicate with families as we all advocate for residents, giving everyone involved peace of mind. Every resident, at every level of ability, will spend their days doing what makes them happy. 

If you want to learn more about Alzheimer’s care, or find out ways to avoid caregiver burnout, we have the latest expert information and advice we’d love to share with you. The Artis Way can be your very best resource for support and partnership. Contact us. We’re here, we have all the help you need, and we’re so ready to help your loved one and you.

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