What is a Support Group?
In this blog, we will go over what a support group is, how it can help family caregivers, and the ways you can become a part of one. Support groups can be kind of mysterious for some since not everyone has been a part of one. But it is important to know what they are about because they can offer profound mental health benefits.
A support group is a gathering of people who have had similar experiences offer support to one another for common challenges each individual faces. Support groups can be informal or formal. Formal support groups are often organized by an institution aimed at helping a target population. For example, many caregiver support group exists to address the needs and problems family caregivers experience.
Below we will go over some of the benefits support groups can offer:
A safe place: Support groups are safe spaces where you are free to share your experience, regardless of how personal they may be. One of the primary purposes of a support group is to be heard. Often, family caregiving is a very solitary experience and other people may not exactly know what you are going through. Caregiver support groups solve that problem by getting other family caregivers in the same room to share what is going on in their lives. There is no need for embarrassment or hiding because support groups give you community support.
Common Ground: Unlike one on one counseling, caregiver support groups put you with other people who are in a similar place. One-on-one counseling is a very valuable option. Support groups, on the other hand, are there for people who would like to have the perspective of others who have been in their position. Overall, support groups provide a level of understanding that you may not feel in other settings. You can be assured that other members in the support group have some idea of what you are going through and are able to provide you with sound advice. Additionally, you are there to help others. You can share your own experiences to help people in a similar position as you.
Resources: Support groups are a resource meant to help those who join. Not only are they a place to get emotional support from likeminded people, they are also a place to learn how to navigate life going forward. Sometimes, formal support groups are headed by a knowledgeable leader who has methods on how to respond to difficult situations.
If you are interested, ElderCare at Home works closely with the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center which offers caregiver support groups. Visit their page to learn more. If you have other questions, please visit ElderCare’s website or call us at 888-285-0093.