Whether you are a professional or family caregiver, the weight of giving so much of yourself to others every day can leave you feeling physically depleted and emotionally burnt out. Caregiver burnout, which is a recognized condition, is defined by WebMD as “a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude—from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned.”
Burnout usually occurs when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or they try to do more—physically and/or financially—than they are able to handle. Luckily, there are plenty of ways caregivers can get a little extra support.
Online caregiver support groups are a great way to join a community to get and give advice from the comfort of your own home. The added benefit of joining an online caregiver support group is that you can make it work around your own schedule, no matter how complicated. Here are a few groups to help you get started:
- The Family Caregiver Alliance. The Family Caregiver Alliance is a nonprofit organization that aims to “address the needs of families and friends providing long-term care for loved ones at home.” They have several different options when it comes to online caregiver support, including a group designed to serve the LGBT community.
- Daily Strength. This website was designed to help people join specialized support groups depending on their needs. A subsidiary of Sharecare, Inc., which was created by WebMD founder Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz, Daily Strength aims to provide a “truly interactive healthcare ecosystem giving consumers the ability to ask, learn and act on the questions of health.”
- CareGiving.com. A wonderful resource for caregivers looking for some extra support, CareGiving.com also has a wide range of public groups that caregivers can join to connect with others in the same boat.
Whether you are looking for advice, a safe space to vent, or simply want to chat with others who are going through a similar experience, an online support group is a great place to start!
If you’re looking to make in-person connections with other caregivers, there are ways to find meetings in your area:
- First, you can do a Google search for “caregiver support groups near me.” You may be surprised to learn about all the local meetings that provide support to caregivers and even discover additional resources to help you on your caregiver journey.
- Second, you can use the Caregiver.com database, which compiles a list of caregiver support group meetings from all across the nation.
- Third, a website called Meetup, which was created with the intention of bringing like-minded people together within their local communities, offers a bunch of meeting options for caregivers around the country.
Place of Worship
Another great local resource is your place of worship. Whether you belong to a church, temple or mosque, your religious leader might already be hosting regular caregiver support groups. And if they do not offer caregiver support groups, you could work with them to help create one within your community.
AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving released a 2015 report called “Caregiving in the U.S.” that found nearly 40 million Americans have provided unpaid caregiver services to an aging loved one within the past 12 months. This amounts to roughly 16.6 percent of the American population, so odds are pretty good that other people in your religious community are also in need of caregiving support.
Never Too Late to Ask for Help
In addition to joining a caregiver support group, asking for outside help can be a great relief of stress and pressure. Right at Home is proud to have worked in tandem with many family caregivers to help bear some of the burden. Call us at 877-697-7537 to talk to someone about how we might be able to help you care for your loved one.
Hilary Young is a writer dedicated to helping older Americans live healthier, more fulfilling lives. She currently blogs for HuffPost50, Fifty Is The New Fifty and Medical Guardian. You can find her on Twitter as @hyoungcreative.