This week’s question:
I’ve never attended a support group, how can it help?
First off, you may be wondering – what is a caregiver support group?
Support groups are a place where caregivers can gather to share information, experiences, advice, and support for one another. Alzheimer’s Orange County regularly holds support groups for helping families and caregivers, led by a trained staff of facilitators. We offer specialized groups for those with specific diagnoses such as frontotemporal dementia or Lewy body dementia, as well as groups available in different languages for non-English speakers including Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese – all of which are free to attend.
There are many benefits of caregiver support groups. If you are unsure about what a support group can do for you, here are some of the reasons you may want to attend:
5 Ways A Support Group Can Help You
1. You can learn from other people’s experiences.
Support group members provide each other with tremendous encouragement and acknowledgment that, although every caregiver’s journey is different, everyone is brought together for the same reason. Support group members also validate each other’s experiences through bonding over similar struggles or related concerns. It is an important network that ultimately contributes to a more effective caregiving experience.
2. It is a chance to socialize and connect.
Caregiving for someone who has dementia can often be an isolating experience. Joining a support group is a great way for caregivers to meet other people who are in similar situations as them, and to realize that they are not alone in this journey.
3. You can feel safe in a nonjudgmental space.
Often times, it’s hard for a caregiver to feel like their struggles are understood by others. In a support group with other caregivers, you will be surrounded by people who understand what you are going through and will not judge the things you may be feeling or experiencing, because they too share your similar experiences. It is an opportunity to open up in a safe space.
4. You can share resources with others.
Members of a support group have the opportunity to share their experiences with common caregiver challenges, where to find other resources and educational information, and, most importantly, emotional support for one another.
5. It gives you a break.
The work of a caregiver is not easy; often times, caregivers are unable to find time for themselves outside of their daily caregiving responsibilities. However, caregivers who are in touch with themselves and their own needs are often able to provide better care for their loved ones with dementia – which is another reason why it is so crucial that you, as a caregiver, remember to take care of yourself.
Have questions concerning Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory issues? We have answers.
As part of our array of programs and services for local families affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, Alzheimer’s Orange County offers a free telephone helpline to answer any questions you may have about the disease. Whether you are someone experiencing dementia or other memory problems, a caregiver, or simply have questions about the disease, our experts are here to provide you with the information, resources, and advice that you need.
Our very own Helpline Specialists join us on our blog series to answer the most frequently asked questions that they encounter from caregivers and their loved ones, as well as their solutions to common issues and difficulties you may be experiencing.
Have a question about Alzheimer’s & dementia, but don’t see it here? Be sure to contact Alzheimer’s Orange County’s Helpline at 844-HELP-ALZ (844-435-7259) and we will help. To see the other programs and resources that Alzheimer’s Orange County can offer to you and your loved ones, visit our website at https://www.alzoc.org/.