Support Groups Are All About “Being There” for Each Other
Being a caregiver is a very rewarding yet overwhelming responsibility. The physical and emotional demands can be exhausting. As the responsibilities of being a caregiver become more complex and involved, the caregiver may begin to feel overwhelmed and extremely stressed.
Does This Sound Like Your Life?
The intensity and complexity of caregiving places the caregiver at risk for high levels of stress. They may experience feelings inadequacy, powerlessness and depression. Social isolation often occurs due to time commitments and fatigue. Often caregivers are so busy taking care of others that they fail to realize that they need to care for themselves. Caregivers’ health often fails faster than the person’s they are caring for.
You are Not Alone
Alzheimer’s disease is a thief that robs a person of their mind, memory, and identity. It is a long and stressful journey. Support groups will help you look at tragedies as tragedies and focus on precious moments and small victories.
It is often difficult for a caregiver to take that first step and attend a meeting. Most do not know what to expect. Here is what you can expect when you attend a support group. First, you will enter a room filled with other caregivers, many in situations very similar to your own, and you will immediately feel at home knowing that everyone there understands. You will feel safe sharing your feelings – your frustrations, anxieties, hopes and fears, anger – and even tears – for you are in the company of others who have experienced these same emotions. If you are a new caregiver, you can ask questions of veteran caregivers that are there to share their knowledge with those just beginning the journey. Nobody ever leaves a group meeting without either picking up one tidbit of information that may be helpful with their loved one or feeling that they have helped another caregiver to cope better. Members say that meetings give them strength and encouragement to make it one more day, one more week and one more month. They develop close friendships with other caregivers with who they are able to laugh as well as cry (yes, we do find that we are able to laugh at our caregiver experiences). We have found that a sense of humor is an essential ingredient in being a caregiver.