Becoming a caregiver can be a lot of stress for someone, regardless of how well you handle stress. Becoming a caregiver is no easy task, but it helps to know that there are other people out there who are in a similar situation as you.
Support groups are a great way to gain peers and get helpful ideas on how to balance being a CDPAP aide and your personal life. Here, we will discuss the benefits, advantages, types of support groups, and more!
Why Would Caregivers Benefit from a Support Group?
Caregivers can feel a lot of stress in their position. It can be hard to know what is your responsibility, how to balance your personal life along with your patient’s life, and how to handle delicate situations. The stress can build up quickly, especially for new caregivers.
Joining a caregiver support group is a fantastic way to take a break and relieve some stress with others who are experiencing the same stress as you. You will feel heard and understood by your fellow caregivers, something which you may not get from other people who are not caregivers.
Caregiver support groups are also a great way for you to avoid caregiver burnout and to keep yourself fresh. By relieving stress and gaining peers who understand you, you will be less likely to feel burnt out by caregiving and feel a sense of community with your fellow caregivers.
Gaining a sense of community is important for caregivers because as a caregiver, you are at risk for developing mental health disorders. Joining a support group is a great way to avoid mental health struggles because the sense of community that is made is a perfect space for caregivers to explain their struggles as aides, feel understood, and maybe even receive some advice from others who have gone through the same experience!
Caregiver Support Group Advantages
There are many advantages to joining a caregiver support group. The most important advantage to joining a caregiver support group is seeing that you are not alone. Being a caregiver and giving your time to someone else can feel isolating and strange, but joining a support group can help you feel supported and surrounded by people who get it.
Another advantage of joining a caregiver support group is gaining tips, tricks, and tools to maintain your mental health while supporting your patient. Your mental health is one of the most important parts of your job. Without you, your patient is without care.
By taking care of your mental health, you are taking care of your patient. Being in a support group with people who understand what you are dealing with can help you feel better mentally, which can lead to better physical and emotional health as well as better job performance.
Taking care of your mental health, no matter who you are, is a crucial part of self-care. Mental self-care is as important as physical self-care but so many people struggle to do mental self-care. If you can take care of your physical self by brushing your teeth every day, you can take care of yourself mentally by joining a caregiver support group.
Caregiver support groups are a confidential place where you can share your feelings with people who will respect your privacy and confidentiality. You can share experiences you have had, troubling feelings, or questions you have without fear of ridicule or embarrassment.
Plus, caregiver support groups are a great way to find new friends in your area that are in your field of work! Support groups are a great way to widen your social network and support network.
What to Look for in a Caregiver Support Group
There are a few things that make a caregiver support group a good one. They are as follows:
– The support group has a designated group leader who acts professionally and respectfully to all the members of the support group.
– The support group acts professionally and behaves respectfully. This applies to all members of the group.
– The group has some experience in being a support group. (Look for a support group that is not brand new.)
– Look for a support group that has clear goals and ideals that you would like to subscribe to. Make sure that you agree with the ideals of the group.
Additionally, look for people who make you feel good, heard, and do not stress you out. Your caregiver support group should be a reason that you relax and de-stress, not something that you dread, becomes a chore, or that you feel uncomfortable or unhappy doing.
Types of Caregiver Support Groups
There are several different types of caregiver support groups, and finding the one that applies to you may feel daunting. Do not worry! We are here to help you find the perfect match for you. Below are some of the types of caregiver support groups that you can find.
Condition-specific support groups – these types of support groups all share something in common, the condition of the patient or a conditional requirement to join the group to maintain the commonality of the group, such as an all-female caregiver support group.
Targeted groups – these are groups that are diverse, meaning there are a variety of different caregivers in the group.
Peer-led groups – peer-led support groups are led by caregivers in the group dynamically as an alternative to a professional leader.
Facilitated groups – some caregiver support groups are led by a trained facilitator who knows how to professionally lead the group in discussions and how to work through issues.
Online groups – with the rise of virtual learning and working come the rise of virtual support groups, which can be done in the comfort of your own home via telephone or video call.
Groups for young caregivers – there are specialized support groups for younger people who have assumed the role of caregiver, typically 18 years old to their min 20s, but you can find a group that fits your age group.
Education groups – these groups have the goal to help teach caregivers more about what to do and how to do it in an educational manner that is kind and supportive, no matter how much experience the caregiver has.
How Much Does Joining a Support Group Cost?
Joining a caregiver support group can either be free or cost anywhere from $25 to $250. This depends on the type of group, the location, and more. If financial issues arise, speak to the leader or organizer of the group to see what can be done to accommodate your situation. Remember, joining a support group should not add stress.
5 PA Caregiver Support Groups
Below are several caregiver support groups based in PA that you can check out.
-AHC Willow Grove: https://www.abingtonhealth.org/classes-events/detail/?eventId=76545262-9935-de11-89cc-001372679326#.XLVuopMzbG4
– Butler County Area Agency on Aging Caregiver Support Group: http://www.seniorcaresociety.com/event/caregiver-support-group-50064647e0221.html
-Can You Let It Go?: https://www.doylestownhealth.org/classes-and-events/can-you-let-it-go-53976028755
-CAregivers REducing Stress (CARES): https://www.meetup.com/Caregiver-Support-Group-Philadelphia/
Good luck on your journey and remember to allow yourself time for mental and physical stress relief. We hope that this was helpful in understanding and finding the support group that is right for you!