Although caregiving can be extremely rewarding, there are bound to be some experiences you may not know how to handle. You may have begun experiencing behaviors from your loved one which you are not familiar with handling, such as agitation or confusion. Tasks that were once simple, like getting dressed, may have become more difficult for your loved one. Caregiver support programs assist family caregivers who are caring for their elderly loved one (most likely a spouse or a parent) who has reached a point where they are no longer able to perform day-to-day activities on their own. This can be from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Caregiver support programs can help you find the answers and support you need through these new changes. Here are some common problems and solutions discussed in caregiver support groups:
“I feel that I no longer have a social outlet.”
You may have feelings of loneliness and isolation. Often, when you become a primary caregiver, your day-to-day activities change significantly. You may notice it’s more difficult to fit in outings like grocery shopping, lunch with a friend, religious meetings, and much more — because your primary duties are now meeting the needs of your loved one. Support groups enable you in finding ways to avoid isolation, to experience an overall improved quality of life, and to maintain dignity, meaning, and a sense of self-worth.
“I’m having feelings of depression and/or anxiety.”
You may begin to feel down and/or stressed when taking on the new responsibilities you face. You probably have a lot more on your plate which can feel overwhelming, stressful, and difficult in ways you didn’t expect. Support groups help guide you along your unique journey, help reduce your stress, and give you hope. The groups are a great way to help you regain a sense of empowerment and control.
“I don’t know how to cope with all of these changes.”
You may be surprised by how many people — perhaps yourself included — just need someone to talk to. Many people do not know how to approach the changes that come along with caregiving, because it is often new territory. Support groups help you form friendships with others who are going through something similar. In fact, they may have experienced the same situation as you and have a great suggestion on what worked for them. By sharing tips and a shoulder to cry on, you can help ease one another’s difficulties — one meeting at a time.
“I need advice and information about practical solutions and treatment options near me.”
Remember that you do not have to do this on your own. Support groups offer a nurturing and caring environment that provides respite and peace of mind for caregivers of seniors challenged by memory loss. These groups provide the community at large with a place to turn when needing information and/or guidance regarding memory loss-related conditions.
Some of these include:
- In-home senior care – non-medical in-home care which provides respite care, companionship care, and more.
- Senior Day Care Center’s – An wonderful way to keep your loved one safe and active each day while giving you the respite you deserve.
- Online support groups like AARP provide online community support. Ask and give advice about common caregiver experiences.
- Reputable online resources such as the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Area Agency on Aging (AAA) – a public or private nonprofit agency designated by a state to address the needs and concerns of all older persons at the regional and local levels.
- A primary care physician who can refer you to a specialist if needed.
- Family, friends, neighbors, and religious communities (many who want to help, but aren’t always sure what to do!)
Support groups are a wonderful way to receive much-needed social support from others who are going through the same situation. An experienced mediator should be present to listen and guide the group through each meeting. These support groups offer a reprieve from your day-to-day responsibilities and are a great way to enhance your life and the life of your loved one.
To find out more about Aspen Senior Day Center’s commitment to excellence, please visit AspenSeniorCenter.org or call 801-607-2300.