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Power in Numbers

Caregiving Support Groups Can Help You Feel “Normal” Again

You can find all sorts of articles about how challenging it is to be a family caregiver. There are plenty of statistics on the physical, mental, emotional, and financial toll family caregiving can take on an individual. There is a wealth of information on how to reduce caregiving stress and prevent burnout. As a family caregiver, while these tips and suggestions may be helpful, they may not provide the outlet you are looking for. Sometimes you just need to vent your fears and frustrations and find comfort in the shared experiences of other family caregivers. In this way, support groups can trump other means of caregiver support.

The thoughts and feelings family caregivers experience range from compassion, selflessness, fear, anger, and despair to guilt, loathing, selfishness, hopelessness and regret. And this might just be in the course of a few hours! You may not be comfortable sharing your thoughts with a non-caregiver for fear of them judging you. Caregiver support groups can provide you an opportunity to be open and honest about your thoughts and experiences without having to worry about being looked down upon. Most likely everyone in the room will relate to you and have similar stories to tell. The camaraderie you establish with fellow support group members can leave you feeling “normal” again.

If you are a family caregiver in Charleston, you can find local caregiver support groups on the Trident Area Agency on Aging’s website. You can also find support groups specific to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s at alz.org.

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