When a friend or healthcare professional suggests that you try a caregivers’ support group, do you immediately imagine a group of people sharing sad stories, leaving attendees feeling worse after the meeting than they felt when they arrived? If you are feeling overwhelmed, the last thing you want to do is share your feelings with a room full of strangers, right?
Well, you may want to reconsider. A well-run support group can provide a vital link to information and support that you, as a family caregiver, need. No matter what your specific challenges may be, it is likely that someone in the group has already been where you are and figured out a workable solution. What’s more, you can share those feelings that only other family caregivers will truly understand. Keeping your feelings bottled up inside can drain your strength and energy, hindering your ability to properly care for your loved one and yourself.
Depending on where you live, there may also be a support group available for your loved one. Often, such meetings are scheduled at the same time, and at the same location, so each family member has the opportunity to seek the support and strength they need. A properly organized and well-run support group can provide emotional support, friendship, compassion, relevant information, important resources, even laughter, and refreshments!
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to talk to your loved one about a long term care plan, which may include long term care insurance (LTCi). LTCi can increase options for future care and caregiver respite, while also preserving assets. Remember, the best time to consider LTCi is before an illness or injury. Early planning can allow time to thoroughly research your options and seek advice, as needed.
So, the next time someone suggests that you try a support group, don’t be so hasty in closing that door. It could be just the lifeline you need.