Support groups may help you manage the stresses of caregiving1
Caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s can be challenging. It’s important to know that those challenges can lead to a lot of stress, which can cause anger, depression, exhaustion, and other health problems. Taking care of yourself is vital – not only for you, but also for your loved one.
One of the most important things you can do is to find help. Going to a caregiver support group can be a great way to get comfort and reassurance.
Some benefits of support groups2
Finding the right support group could have a big impact on your physical and emotional well-being. Some possible benefits include:
- Feeling less lonely by finding people who are going through similar things that you are
- Becoming more empowered and learning how to cope with changes happening to your loved one
- Reducing stress, depression, and anxiety by talking openly about your feelings in a supportive environment
- Gaining a better understanding about what to expect in the future
- Receiving practical advice about caring for your loved one
Discovering the right support group for you2,3
Attending a support group can certainly be helpful to you, but how can you tell if a group is going to be beneficial? An article by AARP highlights one successful group. Six men, whose wives all have Alzheimer’s, meet every month to discuss the issues facing caregivers of people with the disease.
The men have been meeting for years, allowing them to develop trust in each other. They talk about many things, including the cognitive decline of their spouses, tips for managing difficult behavior, and filling out insurance forms. The men said their group was the one place they felt understood and supported when talking about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
This support group has a lot of the hallmarks of many successful groups around the country, including consistent attendance and trust among the members. These are the types of things you should look for in a support group. If a support group isn’t working for you, it’s OK to try a different one. If there aren’t many groups near where you live, you can always try an online support group. Knowing what to look for can help you make the decision about whether a group is right for you.
Finding a support group
If you’re looking for a support group that’s right for you, here is one place to start. You can access links to organizations that have support group locators and find additional information for caregivers. The most important thing is to find support to help manage the struggles that can come with caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.