Coordinating Care: Caregiver Classes and Support Groups

June 23, 2017
Helpful Advice

Coordinating Care: Caregiver Classes and Support Groups

In our most recent post in our coordinating care series, we discussed elder service agencies and what the benefits are.  Before that, we explored how geriatric care managers can help you avoid logistical toxicity. This installment will elaborate on all the options available to caregivers who are simply looking for a place to vent, relieve stress, connect with other caregivers and learn a few things about how to better care for their loved ones.  

Tweet: More than 1 out of every 5 caregivers report feeling exhausted when they go to bed at night.

The benefits of support groups:

When discussing support groups, we often talk about a place for those battling illnesses or other struggles to share their experiences with one another. It’s important to think of the other people affected by these struggles: the caregivers. Caregivers are in need of this very same type of support, but are often overlooked.  

When feeling stressed or overwhelmed, a support group is a great place to turn to vent.  It is also a great place to find and share ideas about how to best care for your loved one.  

While geriatric care managers and other elder care professionals are able to provide industry insight and advice for logistical questions, the experiences of others offer you a new and unique perspective on care. Even if you don’t think you need support, hearing the ways in which other caregivers are handling certain situations can be rewarding.  

Caregivers today wear so many different hats in the course of a day.  You might be a young parent caring for both your children and your elderly loved ones.  Maybe your loved one lives far away.  They could be dealing with cancer or Alzheimer’s or another chronic illness.  There are many different types of support groups available to match your particular situation.  

Should I look for support locally or online?

When you decide to participate in a support group, you’ll find that there are an abundance of online communities.  One advantage of an online support group is the convenience they offer.  You can access it anytime if you’re finding it hard to fit an in-person group into your busy schedule.  

It is also easy to find a group that caters to your specific situation.  Since anyone can join, you will also be exposed to a wide range of experiences, perspectives, and levels of expertise!

For many, an in-person support group offers a better fit.  The people you meet are from the same community and are familiar with local resources that may help you out in the same way they helped your peers.  It is all a matter of comfort and interest in face-to-face interactions.  

Where online support groups may offer you some anonymity, local, in-person groups can connect you with people nearby, people you may develop relationships with.   Of course, support groups are not the last place to turn for help in caring for loved ones.  Recently many organizations have started offering classes to cater to certain aspects of caregiving.

What can caregiver classes offer?

Classes are yet another option for a caregiver on a budget.  In-person educational sessions, usually offered at a nominal fee, can put you in a position to care for your loved one without consulting an elder care professional.  

Like the wide variety of support groups available, you should be able to find a class that tailors to your needs.  Whether it is a class on caring for a loved one with dementia or one that focuses on money management, each class offers you the opportunity to learn how to give care without the need for professional help.  

In the long-run, investment in a caregiver class can save you time, money, and the stress of overwhelming bills, appointments, and other logistics.  They offer you the ability to manage all the aspects of caregiving on your own.  

Both support groups and classes are a great way to learn new approaches to giving care.  Consider joining a group or taking a class to cut back on logistic toxicity and to let out some stress.  You deserve all the support you can get!

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