Are you a family caregiver? Do you feel overwhelmed, anxious, exhausted, or sad? Many assisted living or senior care facilities offer support groups for family caregivers or know of ones to refer. If you’re struggling with caregiving and all the accompanying feelings, consider finding a support group.
What do support groups for caregivers have to offer? Why are they beneficial for family caregivers? These are the questions we’ll answer in this article!
Family Caregivers Don’t Need to Go It Alone
Being the caregiver to a senior loved one comes with many responsibilities. You’re taking care of a family member’s health and your own. It’s a fact that as a caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and more. You may even feel alone when you’re a caregiver with no one to turn to.
These are all the reasons that make a support group beneficial for family caregivers. In this article, we’ll take a more in-depth look at why it’s a good idea to join a support group when caring for a senior loved one.
You may not be surprised that there is something called caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout is when you are emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted. The feelings of burnout and exhaustion may take a while to become noticeable. Caregiver burnout can occur when you’re overexerting yourself and not caring for your own needs.
What’s more, you may also be dealing with feelings of guilt. Guilt is common for many caregivers. You may feel guilty if you take time out for yourself rather than caring for your loved one.
Another common problem contributing to burnout is setting unrealistic expectations for yourself, dealing with unreasonable demands (from other family members), and more. It’s common to feel like you’re out of control. All of this contributes to caregiver burnout.
These are the most common symptoms of caregiver burnout:
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Changes in appetite (lack of or overeating)
Over time, without relief, you may experience physical and mental health issues. It’s essential to be with others who understand to avoid caregiver burnout.
The Benefits of Support Groups for Family Caregivers
Joining a support group for family caregivers of seniors can offer the relief and support you need. Here are the benefits you may experience from becoming a support group member.
1. Reduce Feelings of Isolation & Loneliness
It’s not uncommon for caregivers to feel alone and depressed. That’s why a support group can be beneficial. For one thing, you’re in a group with others in a similar situation. They fully comprehend what you’re going through and managing.
Being in a support group also reduces your feelings of isolation and loneliness. Again, you’re with others coping with their loved ones’ care, too.
The supportive environment allows you to connect with others who understand what you’re going through. They know you like no one else and can offer the support you need to reduce feelings of loneliness.
2. Learn Problem-Solving Tips
Another benefit of joining a support group for family caregivers is that you’ll be with others who can provide ideas for solving problems. These people are in a similar situation or have dealt with the issues you’re now facing. These individuals can offer advice and guidance on how they manage these problems.
There are charitable organizations, grants, and government programs that provide help when you need it. In addition, members of the support group may also be able to offer advice on where to find financial assistance. The group may also be able to steer you toward doctors, legal aid, and more.
3. Others to Socialize With
A support group for family caregivers offered by an assisted living, eldercare, or senior care facility is also a way to find others to socialize with and help. As a caregiver, finding time to spend with your friends can be challenging if you have little spare time. However, others in the support group understand your situation.
Support group members may have slightly different schedules. That’s a common issue, especially when caregivers must juggle work, care for their families, and care for their senior loved ones. So, others in the support group know this and may be able to match your schedule.
When you have seniors to care for, last-minute issues can be pretty common. For instance, getting together for coffee or lunch with a support group member may be more manageable. They understand and can usually match your schedule. These individuals also realize it may be necessary to cancel the get-together at the last minute.
The support group for caregivers is a great way to find friends who understand. You can make friendships that last for years in a family caregiver support group.
4. Learn Techniques for Self-Care
A support group for family caregivers is also a fantastic place to learn techniques to care for your well-being. Individuals in the group can share the methods they use to manage their self-care and provide ideas for improving their routines.
Not only do you learn how to take care of your overall well-being, but using self-care methods also makes you a better family caregiver.
If you’re feeling isolated and overwhelmed as a caregiver, a support group can be a fantastic place to find the encouragement and support you need.
You don’t have to go through caregiving alone. So, consider reaching out to your loved one’s assisted living facility to see if they have support for family caregivers. If not, they can suggest some groups near you who can be excellent sources of support and inspiration. You’ll be a better family caregiver when caring for your well-being and loved ones.
Contact us today to learn more about how Saguaro Ranch Assisted Living can provide the caregiver support you need at home or in our residential assisted living community. We are happy to discuss our senior care services and arrange a tour.