Caregivers, by their very nature, are typically very giving people with a reputation for putting others’ needs before their own. As such, they tend to be hesitant about seeking out support, especially if they perceive the help will be directed primarily at their own needs as opposed to the needs of the person for whom they are providing care.
Because many caregivers’ inherent desire is to focus on others, the term “caregiver support group” can be misunderstood. Many caregivers perceive that the “support” offered in these groups only benefits the emotional well-being of the person who is providing the care—not the person who needs it.
The truth is, caregiver support groups, particularly for family members who provide care for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s Disease or related dementia, can be as beneficial to the person receiving the care as they are to the caregiver him or herself.
“Caregiver support groups offer a safe, confidential, supportive community and a chance for participants to develop informal mutual support and social relationships,” says Kassandra Lethert, Wellness Director at Encore Memory Care at South Barrington. “They also educate and inform participants about dementia and help participants develop methods and skills to solve day-to-day challenges.”
Discussions at Alzheimer’s caregiver support groups held at suburban Encore Memory Care communities can be as diverse as the participants and their needs at any given time.
“Our monthly caregiver support group discussions can focus on the various stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, communication strategies, engaging activities, and the various stages of the disease and their corresponding behaviors,” says Lyric Cade, Wellness Director at Encore Memory Care at Crystal Lake.
“We are as likely to discuss meal planning and nutrition, embracing technology to help with organization and communication, or creating a back-up plan in the case of an emergency as we are to talk about battling caregiver burnout, stress, and guilt,” says Cade.
Plus, at Encore’s monthly support group meetings, caregivers are encouraged to bring their loved ones and invite them to participate in a separate guided activity during the support group meeting. This offers both parties the opportunity to rest and recharge.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or related dementia can be difficult. Really difficult. Connecting with others who are either going through similar situations or professionals who can offer experience and insight can be a necessary step that helps not only the caregiver but ultimately the person for whom they are providing care as well.
Get more information about ongoing Alzheimer’s caregiver support groups in Crystal Lake, Bolingbrook, or South Barrington, or to RSVP for the next monthly session!