Caring for a senior loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease can be a rewarding experience. Whether it is a spouse, parent, or grandparent, caregiving for a loved one provides you with a sense of purpose. It’s rewarding to make a difference in the life of someone you love.
Despite the rewards, caregiving can be physically and emotionally exhausting. The challenges can leave a caregiver fatigued, stressed, and missing their pre-caregiving life.
Added to that is the very emotional journey Alzheimer’s creates for families. The health care community often refers to it as “the long good-bye.” It’s an apt term given how the disease slowly robs the senior of their health, independence, and memory.
The Family Caregiver Struggle
Because the demands of caring for an adult with Alzheimer’s are so unique, loved ones may feel alone in their struggles. Families might feel embarrassed about behaviors that are actually common, such as angry outbursts or saying inappropriate things. While friends may sympathize, they likely don’t understand unless they’ve been through it.
In general, between 40 and 70 percent of family caregivers find themselves battling depression caused by their caregiving situation. Researchers believe the numbers are likely even higher when the senior has Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.
One way to better cope with the rollercoaster of emotions many caregivers experience is connecting with peers. Joining a caregiver support group allows you to do just that.
Why Join a Caregiver Support Group?
Support groups provide a judgement-free place to share your fears and frustrations, as well as ask for suggestions from people who’ve faced similar challenges. You can join a support group that meets in person, such as one hosted by a memory care community, or online.
Some caregivers prefer face-to-face interaction, while others feel more comfortable with the anonymity of an online support group. The 24/7 accessibility of online support groups makes it easier for busy caregivers to participate. Caregivers can post questions or challenges in chat forums or on message boards any time of day or night.
3 Ways to Connect with an Online Caregiver Support Group
Here are a few avenues to help you find an online caregiver support group:
- ALZConnected: Hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association, ALZConnected gives dementia caregivers access to a wide variety of resources. They also have message boards and chat rooms dedicated to specific topics.
- Family Caregiver Alliance: This site is for caregivers of any kind. You will find groups ranging from cancer support to spouses. The Family Caregiver Alliance also hosts unmoderated support groups.
- CareGiving.com: Here you will find resources and forums on a variety of caregiving topics, such as where to buy adult briefs at the best price to how to plan for a move to senior living.
Memory Care at Five Star Senior Living
If you decide your senior loved one would benefit from the supportive environment of a memory care community, we invite you to explore Five Star Senior Living. From specialized caregiver training to dedicated menus and life enrichment activities, residents enjoy the best quality of life each day. Call the community nearest you to learn more today!