The benefits of care giving support groups

by Admin | May 24, 2011

Care giving support groups are becoming a way of life for family caregivers. Deciding to participate in such a group or finding one that is just right for you is not necessarily an easy thing to do. Support groups of all kinds abound, whether they are for those dealing with a divorce, a life-threatening disease, or even problems with their children. In only the last decade, chronic illnesses and disabilities have been on a steady increase, and the typical lifespan has also extended, meaning the proportion of our American population that is elderly has greatly increased.

Managed health are has put a large degree of the responsibility for the elderly onto the home caregiver, increasing the necessity of social support for caregivers, hence, the rise in care giving support groups. Today’s caregivers must provide types of treatment at home that would have been virtually unthinkable only a few short years ago. There is an increasing amount of awareness of the substantial burdens which face today’s family caregivers. As such, care giving support groups are easier to find and join.


Benefits of Care Giving Support Groups

There are a wide variety of benefits to be derived from care giving support groups, the primary one being to give you a safe place to share your feelings about your current caregiving duties and the changes those duties have made in your day-to-day life. The care giving support groups can offer a social outlet—which you probably get very rarely—and a place to go and make new friends. You can garner some really helpful information about new products or services which could be helpful to your own situation, and have a regular place to go where you can learn the best coping mechanisms out there for caregivers.

You will be able talk to others and find out what path lies ahead of you in your caregiving duties, allowing you to be able to effectively anticipate the changes which lie ahead. Most importantly, as part of care giving support groups you will find that you are not alone. You will get care and support from others who are in the same situation as you are and, as a result, have true understanding of your situation.


What Makes Care Giving Support Groups Effective?


You may find that you have to attend several care giving support groups before finding one you are completely comfortable with. You may feel like an outsider in one group, while feeling completely and utterly at home in another. The primary thing which makes care giving support groups effective is the caring atmosphere in the group and the feeling of trust among the members.

There needs to be a good mixture of group participants, allowing bonds to be formed. It will be important that you get a sense of strong purpose as well as a clear structure of the group—in other words, every member is clear on why they are in the group as well as what they can expect. All the really good support groups will have group agreement on the rules which apply—confidentiality is especially important—as well as a good facilitator; the facilitator’s background is less important than their ability to keep group cohesion and offer empathy and concern.


Online Care Giving Support Groups


Many people turn to online care giving support groups for a number of reasons. Perhaps they simply are unable to get respite care for their loved one which would allow them to get out of the house and attend an in-person support group, or maybe they are not quite comfortable with meeting a roomful of new people. Whatever the reason, trying an online caregiver’s support group can, at the very least, be a good first step. You are relatively anonymous in an online group, and can feel free to voice your emotions and concerns.


Care Giving Support Groups Can Alleviate Caregiver Burnout

Aside from the “outside” world of paid workers, the people who are the very most prone to burnout are caregivers. These are the people who devote themselves selflessly to the needs of others, most often in an unpaid capacity. The demands of caregiving can be completely overwhelming, damaging physical and mental health. If you are a caregiver who cares for a loved one, getting the support you need is not a luxury—it is a necessity. Care giving support groups can go a long way in delaying or alleviating the burnout experienced by a large percentage of caregivers. Take a look at what’s out there, then don’t hesitate—get the support you need and deserve.

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