It’s no secret that caring for someone with dementia is challenging, and at times, stressful. It is normal for a dementia caregiver to feel alone, lost, or not knowing where to start. There are many benefits to attending a support group (either virtually or in person). Knowing when to reach out for help and support is key to your success in your caregiver journey.
Start by looking at what support groups are available in your area. Decide if you would prefer to meet in person or virtually. Aging and Disability Resource Center can provide you with a list of available support groups or point you in the right direction of where to look! Visit www.adrcofbrowncounty.org to see what’s being hosted by ADRC. The Alzheimer’s Association also facilitates many dementia-specific support groups. Visit www.alz.org/wi to find their most updated listings.
This seems pretty obvious, but sharing your experiences (both successful and challenging ones) will allow others to give you ideas or techniques to try, be there to support you in your successes, and lift you up in sharing your challenges.
Being a caregiver can be very isolating, and at times, even lonely. It can be helpful to meet people on a similar journey of caregiving to expand your informal networks of support. You might find it helpful to simply have genuine human interactions with others who just “get it.” You may make a lifelong friend or two!
Caregivers can get caught up or lost in the shuffle and chaos. It can be difficult to feel creative in problem solving challenging behavioral symptoms. Other caregivers who understand dementia can give you some great ideas to try with your loved one. You can learn from their experiences of caring for a loved one with dementia about what things worked and what things did not work so well. The facilitators of the support group can also offer helpful community resources.
Many caregivers live with their loved one with dementia 24/7, but even if you don’t, it’s always helpful to have some time to relax and recharge. Even a 1 hour “break” from your regular caregiving duties can make a huge difference in your ability to come back with a clear head and feeling refreshed.
For more information on caregiver support groups, call ADRC at (920) 448-4300.