Being a family caregiver is hard work. But, then, you probably already know that. There may be days when you wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into. You might struggle with how to handle certain tasks, or how to have difficult conversations with your aging family member. Some days you might wake up wishing it could end and feeling like you can hardly face another day. Given the situation, those are all valid feelings. If you’re struggling with handling your feelings about being a family caregiver and with balancing your caregiver duties with the rest of your life, joining a support group for others in your same situation could help. Still need convincing? Here are 5 reasons to consider joining a caregiver support group.
#1 A Safe Place to Vent
It can be hard to share your feelings with family members and close friends who have never been family caregivers. They don’t know what it’s like and may not understand the feelings that come with the responsibility. Other caregivers do. In a support group, you can talk about how you feel without the fear of judgement.
#2 Learn Tips from Experienced Caregivers
You probably have specific struggles associated with your caregiver duties. Perhaps you’re not sure how to keep your mom with Alzheimer’s from wandering out of the house, or you don’t know how to help your dad, who suffered a stroke, to get dressed. There may be someone else in the support group with a similar situation, and they may have some helpful tips to share.
#3 Make New Friends
Is there anyone who doesn’t need more friends? People in support groups often find themselves feeling as close as a family. They share the same struggles. They support each other when times are tough, and they celebrate together in times of triumph. You might just make new friends that you can call for a quick chat during the day when you need advice, or to meet for a relaxing cup of coffee when you need to get away for a bit.
#4 Know You’re Not Alone
If you feel like you’re the only one who gets frustrated with a senior family member, or who sometimes feels guilty about it, being in a support group will help you to realize that you are not alone. There are all sorts of feelings associated with being a caregiver, both positive and negative, that many caregivers share. Chances are, when you tell the group how you’re feeling, you’ll look around and see knowing nods.
#5 Build a Bigger Support Circle
Remember those new friends from reason number three? Well, they might also become people you can rely on for help. Sometimes members of support groups help each other by combining errands. For example, a member of the group may be willing to do your grocery shopping and theirs while you keep an eye on your senior family member and theirs. Even better, in a situation like this, your senior family member makes a new friend, too!
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Skokie, IL, please call the caring staff at A-Abiding Care today. Serving North and Northwest Chicago and the surrounding area for over 30 years. Call 847-698-1400.