If you’ve ever been the one primarily responsible for the care of your aging loved ones, you know that it’s hard work and it can feel incredibly overwhelming.
As a caregiver, especially if you have your own life outside of caring for your loved one (children, a full-time job etc) you will likely become burnt out at some point. Depending on the care needs of your loved one, arranging appointments, and respite care, it’s easy to forget to care for yourself. That’s where it can be helpful to find a caregiving support group near you that can help you network and engage with other caregivers and share your stories and frustrations. But how do you start? Keep reading below to learn more about how to pick the best caregiver support group near you.
• Narrow your focus. There are a variety of support groups that exist out there, and some have a more particular focus than others, such as caregiving for a loved one with cancer, dementia, or another ailment. Finding the one that most closely matches what your loved one is going through, can be helpful in beginning your search.
• Find the best one for your unique life situation. Is your life so busy that you can’t fathom attending a support group meeting in person? This is a reality for many, but there are many virtual meetings that exist so you can feel supported but also attend, without being physically present.
• Get out of your comfort zone. Caregiver support groups are often underutilized because people feel as though they either don’t have time or they’re concerned about being judged or socializing and sharing their personal stories with strangers makes them feel intimidated. Getting out of your comfort zone can help you get the support you need, and others feel similarly, there’s no reason to try and go it alone.
• Most, if not all support groups are free to join and participate in. If you’re concerned about not having the money to get involved in organizations and support groups, don’t worry; support groups are generally free to join so you don’t have to risk losing money on them.
• Keep an open mind. Don’t dismiss a support group because you think it’s not perfectly targeted for you. There is much overlap between support groups, and if you don’t like the one that you choose initially, there are always others that are worth investigating.
To learn more about finding the best caregiver support group for you, check out this article by AARP which also includes additional resources for finding the right group for you.