If you’re a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. The daily toll of personally taking care and worrying for your loved one can induce stress, burnouts, and taxing effects on your mental health. To combat these negative feelings, many caregivers find that building a local support system is a key way to get help. Alzheimer and Dementia Caregiver support groups can provide emotional support and information, as well as a place to share ideas and experiences with other caregivers and family members of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Wondering how a support group can improve your daily routine? Here are five benefits of how joining a caregiver support group can benefit you:
Become a Part of a Community that Understands You
The life of a caregiver produces certain pitfalls and frustrations that those outside of the caregiving circle might not understand. When you join a dementia or Alzheimer caregiver support group, you are surrounded by a network of individuals who understand your day-to-day struggles. In the company of like-minded people, you can feel comfortable voicing your frustrations, questions, or accomplishments without having to explain yourself. Support groups also provide you with a confidential, safe place where you can vent your negative emotions and not feel judged. And when a network of people can provide validation for your feelings of anger, grief, or defeat, it reminds you that you’re not alone in your struggles.
Learn New Dementia/Alzheimer Caregiving and Coping Techniques
A caregiver support group is made of up individuals at many different stages along the caregiving timeline. For this reason, a support group meeting is a beneficial time to learn and swap not only tried-and-tested caregiving advice, but coping techniques for yourself as well. Whether its learning tips or tricks to help get your loved one to eat, the best brain games to play with Alzheimer’s sufferers, or breathing techniques to use when you’re feeling frustrated, you get the chance to learn something new every time your chat with a fellow caregiver.
Get Out and Socialize
Human beings are social creatures. When you’re busy attending to the day-to-day needs of your loved one, you may find yourself feeling isolated from friends or family. Joining a caregiver support group gives you a regular time each week dedicated to outside human interaction. Whether you join a support group virtually or in person, you get the opportunity to build your social network and connect with new friends you can reach out to the next time you’re in a pinch for advice, venting, or companionship.
Regain Your Sense of Individuality
When you spend your whole day caring for someone else, it’s easy to neglect your own needs. By taking time away from your caregiving duties, you give your psyche the much-needed break to evaluate your own sense of self. Caregiver support groups allow caregivers the opportunity to focus on YOU: your needs, your daily struggles, hopes, and plans for the future. Your network of caregiving friends can help you regain your sense of self-worth.
Improve your Mental and Spiritual Health to Prevent Caregiver Burnout
Choosing to become a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia is a long term affair, full of physically and mentally exhausting days and nights. Beneficial time away from your caregiving duties is needed to take a breath, relax, and recharge to stave off burnout so you can remain focused and engaged for the long haul. Caregiver support groups can provide the time and resources needed to work on improving your mental and spiritual health. It’s important to remember that taking time to work on your mental and spiritual health is not a selfish act—the healthier you as a caregiver are, the more equipped you’ll be to remain keeping your loved one in good health and spirits.
Join a Caregiver Support Group today!
Interested in joining a caregiver support group? We offer a variety of caregiver support groups throughout New York State including Clinton, Essex, Hamilton, Warren, Washington, Franklin counties as well as the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. For more information, visit our support group homepage to find a support group in your area or call our Caregiver Telephone Support Line at 1-800-388-0199.