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Channels Where Family Caregivers Can Find Support

By Ruby Cemental

In many cases, caregiving is nearly the definition of love. It is what the human traditions surrounding family are all about. And it is essential. However, like most tasks that involve love, it can be extremely demanding and can take a toll on caregivers as well as adding immensely to their lives. Caregivers need support channels to know that they aren't alone. Here are some examples of caregiver support channels. 

  • Online Forums: There are a number of internet chat groups or forums for caregivers. There are many caregivers out there who are going through the same experience that you are. The knowledge that there are others facing similar challenges to your own can be vitally important. Look for boards on Pinterest, follow hashtags on Instagram, join groups on Facebook, share your stories on Reddit. Find a digital community to lean on. 

  • Religious Institutions: Religious and spiritual organizations can be at the core of emotional support in difficult times. 

  • Friends & Family: Ask friends for help in areas they feel comfortable with, home repairs, perhaps or researching on the internet. Try to share responsibility with other family members.

  • Local Organizations: Very often county or community organizations offer profoundly helpful support programs like visiting nurses, adult daycare programs or "respite care" programs that enable you as a caregiver to take some time off to refresh.

  • AARP: This organization wants the best for their members, and, therefore, provide helpful information about giving excellent care to older ones. Their website has a section dedicated, not to the ones receiving care, but to the caregivers themselves who need support and encouragement in their difficult roles. You'll find good advice as well as first-person accounts of caregivers from various backgrounds.

  • FCA (Family Caregiver Alliance): This organization was founded in the 1970's to address the needs of family and friends that are providing long-term care for their loved ones. The website's Caregiver Education section provides general fact and tip sheets as well as information specific to the health condition your loved one might be facing. In addition, the organization provides classes and events, as well as support groups for caregivers.

  • Local Hospital: Many people don't think to look for support at the local hospital but it is worth checking into. They may offer classes for how best to provide care for your loved one. This is especially helpful for caregivers that do not have a medical background.

  • Caregiving Café: This organization helps educate providers on laws and regulations, along with a community of other caregivers who offer support and information about other resources and concerns.

  • NIH: The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health Clinical Center provides a lengthy list of online resources for caregivers, including calculators for health risks, specific medical conditions or concerns, and financial support. 

As you are learning to deal with the changes that aging can bring, be patient with yourself, patient with your loved one, seek advice and answers to questions, and remember you are not in this alone. For additional resources, refer to our Caregiver Toolkit

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Tags: Caregivers

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