Tuesday September 20, 2016
Any stressful life situation can leave many people feeling isolated and disconnected. For those caring for an older loved one, the day-to-day tasks of making sure the senior is comfortable, safe and provided for can mean that caregivers neglect their own well-being. Support groups can provide a meaningful time that is set aside for the caregiver to focus on their own feelings and needs.
What is a support group?
A support group is a meeting of people who are going through the same stressful event in life, such as caregiving or grief over the passing of a loved one; or dealing with a similar medical condition, for example cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer’s Disease. Support groups are oftentimes led by social workers, case managers and psychologists, or the facilitator may just be someone who has experience with the life situation or medical condition.
Support groups provide a safe place to share feelings and experiences with others who are going through the same situation. Some groups may be very open ended where members direct the discussion, while others may be more formal and have guest professional presenters, such as doctors and lawyers. It is important to decide which format will support you the best.
Support groups are not the same as group therapy sessions, which are formal mental health treatments.
Benefits of joining a support group
Support groups can offer a number of benefits, including:
- Lessening feelings of isolation
- Have people to talk to who are going through similar circumstances
- Being able to freely air feelings
- Learning from people who have been down the same path; what your expectations should be and what resources they found helpful
Local Support Groups
If you are a caregiver for an older loved one, the Abramson Center runs two free monthly support groups. The groups are certified by the Alzheimer’s Association and are run by experienced senior care professionals. A group is held at Abramson Medical Adult Day Center in Northeast Philadelphia the third Tuesday of the month at 2:00 p.m. A second group is held the first Wednesday of the month at Abramson Home Care in Jenkintown. For more information, please call 215-371-1369.
If you need additional caregiver support, please call Abramson Care Advisors at 215-371-3400. A care advisors is available free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you locate the services that best fit you and your loved one’s needs.