Support Groups for Caregivers of Elderly Parents
Many Americans provide unpaid healthcare support for their children or other adults.
The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) states about 53 million people are in this boat.
Approximately one in five people provide the role of caregiver for another person. This number will increase as the elderly population grows.
The study also showed that these professional caregivers often suffer from “caregiver stress.” This ailment can get quite serious. It refers to the added stress a person gains when caring for an adult or child with chronic health issues. Caregiver duties can become stressful.
Currently, there are several types of support groups for caregivers. These groups are made up of people in similar situations as yourself. These groups are significant for those taking on the care of an elderly parent. The role reversal of the child now taking care of the parent can make for a stressful situation.
Let’s look at some of the options for support groups for caregivers, including family caregivers of elderly parents. There are several options, including in-person and online.
Support Groups for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Alzheimer’s is one of the most common forms of dementia. Those suffering from this condition need constant care. It gets more stressful when your parent forgets things making caring for them harder.
It can be challenging for anyone to see the person who raised them deteriorate mentally. There can often be guilt when you want to have some time to yourself instead of caring for your loved one.
Luckily, you are not alone with such feelings. Several groups are available to support caregivers like yourself.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
The AFA is a preferred resource for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s dementia. They provide educational and supportive services and also provide access to support groups in your area.
They have a toll-free helpline, 866-232-848, which you can call to get support now.
Also, the AFA provides weekly phone support group services. They will help you connect and share with other caregivers across the country.
The Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association provides a range of different support groups around the country. The groups are free of charge and run by trained professionals.
The organization provides in-person caregiver support to those working with Alzheimer’s patients. You can find links to support groups on their website or call 800-272-3900.
Online Support Groups for Adult Caregivers
You may find yourself in a situation where you need to provide constant help to your elderly parent. In those cases, you may not be able to leave the house to link up in person with a support group.
Luckily there are several online options for support groups. An online community provides opportunities, including message boards, forums, live chats, and video meetings. These can help fit your schedule and comfort level with interacting with others.
Some people may be comfortable sharing in a live chat video where they interact live with others. Others may feel more comfortable with a message board or forums style.
Caregiver Action Network
The Caregiver Action Network (CAN) provides support for caregivers. They can give a series of services to anyone in need.
Their online services include help desks and forums and setting you up with local groups. The CAN helps connect caregivers across the country, both in-person and online.
National Alliance for Mental Illness
The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) helps those caring for those with mental health issues. This can include elderly parents and anyone who has mental health issues.
NAMI provides online support as well as links to in-person support groups. They offer a judgment-free environment and accessible services.
What are Caregiving Support Groups?
Caregiving support groups are places for caregivers to:
- gain information,
- provide emotional support,
- and share experiences.
Some may meet in person, by telephone, or by email. No matter the method, these groups’ purpose is to connect caregivers.
Is a Caregiver Support Group Right for Me?
Everyone is different when it comes to their needs and comfort level of sharing with a group. Some people can share and take part in a group, while others feel anxious sharing with strangers.
If you do not feel comfortable with a group in person, through chat, online, etc., you may find forums useful. Doing this allows you to take part in a conversation in writing, to increase your comfort level.
What Do They Cost?
Most support groups are free of charge.
With all the stress you feel from supporting an elderly parent, you don’t want to worry about extra costs.
Your job is hard enough.
If you seek professional counseling or group therapy, check with your insurance. They may help to cover the cost.
You Are Not Alone
When caring for an elderly parent, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Many other people have similar experiences as you. They can provide emotional support when the stress of caring for your loved one can be too much.
Whether you need in-person or online support, you have options. Sometimes having a simple phone conversation is all you need to set your mind straight.
Taking part on a message board can remind you that you are not the only one going through a similar situation.
And remember, you are providing help to a loved one, and it is okay to ask for help yourself. If you are not at your best, you can’t provide the care you want to your loved one. Having a support group for caregivers can help you maintain the right state of mind to help your loved one.