No-one can care for someone with dementia alone over time, without help and support. Support groups can be helpful for finding encouragement, information and inspiration. In theory, you might know you are not alone, but meeting real people in similar situations as your own can be helpful. You will experience that your problems are not as different from others as you might believe.
Support groups are made out of the people in them, including a moderator, usually a health professional or community member. The structure of support groups is different, where some are more formal and others more informal. All support groups have opportunities to talk about your caring situation and exchange experiences. You choose how much you want to share, and differing opinions are welcomed. Discussing how you manage different situations can prevent people “re-inventing the wheel” within the group.
In support groups, you will meet people that also care for someone with cognitive impairment and know the struggles you are facing. Even if a support group starts out as a group of strangers, important friendships and a feeling of familial bonds often occur. Positive reinforcement of the struggles, guilt and isolation that in many cases contribute to burden among caregivers are essential to be able to restructure a difficult life situation. Some even find hope in seeing others managing what seems to be hopeless situations.
Who do I contact if I want to attend a support group in my community?