Technology Opens Doors for Caregiver Support
When looking for caregiver support you might wonder if anyone knows what you are really going through as a caregiver. There are many other caregivers that fell the same way.
For many caregivers, it is difficult to find an opportunity to talk to other adults and to discuss feelings and problems. Problems such as lack of time and difficulty in finding substitute care only complicate the feeling of isolation and lack of support many caregivers feel. Finding some other adults who face the same concerns that are willing to share experiences and solutions would be so helpful. But how does a caregiver overcome the obstacles? Caregiver support groups on the phone or online are a great solution for such situations.
All that is needed is a telephone, a computer, or a smartphone. Once you have made the contact with the support group, you can enjoy many benefits. Members of the group discuss various topics common to caregivers. The trained group coordinator will guide the conversations and help caregivers learn coping skills and problem-solving ideas. Participants can also learn about local social services for their needs and the needs of their loved ones.
Where do you go to find a support group?
Most hospitals have social work departments or pastoral care departments which sponsor caregiver support groups for caregivers. These would likely be managed by licensed counselors or social workers on staff who meet with caregivers on a scheduled basis in person. Fortunately, technology is being used to help caregivers and counselors meet for support online or by phone, sometimes at a regularly scheduled meeting or sometimes on an as needed, spontaneous schedule. Increasingly, there are support groups for non-English-speaking caregivers at hospital systems, and these may meet in person, on the phone or online.
Locally in different regions or cities across the country, there are non-profit agencies that serve senior patients who have particular conditions. You could probably find such agencies through your Area Agency on Aging. One such agency is Life Path located in the Albany, New York area. That agency has been providing a telephone support group managed by social workers for caregivers in their county for several years. Life Path can be reached in New York at phone: 518-465-3322.
Many caregivers are caring for a spouse, and there is an association just for them, the Well Spouse Association. The Well Spouse Association sponsors telephone support groups, online forum groups, live chat groups, as well as in–person groups across the country.
Alzheimer’s Association offers Help for Caregivers
Specialized Support Groups
Caregiving for a loved one is a different experience for every caregiver, and there are health conditions which require specialized assistance. If you are a caregiver for a patient with Alzheimer or dementia, then you have different needs than a caregiver for a breast cancer patient. That’s why there are support groups for patients with particular conditions.
- The Alzheimer’s Association offer a free online community, AlzConnected, where caregivers can get advice and support. The Association also has in-person groups which you can locate at the website: Or, you can call the Association’s helpline at 800-272-3900.
- For patients who have pulmonary hypertension and their caregivers, the PHA (Pulmonary Hypertension Association) sponsors monthly phone support groups by telephone and on Facebook.
- Cancer Care offers support groups for cancer patients and their caregivers which are led by professional oncology social workers. To learn more about CancerCare’s telephone and face-to-face support groups or to register, call 800‑813‑HOPE (4673).
While participating with caregiver support groups, over the phone or online, caregivers experience less isolation and have an opportunity to discuss emotional issues. A support group provides an opportunity for caregivers who find the weather, transportation, or finding a caregiver substitute an obstacle to attending a meeting in person. Caregivers get to vent, to learn about solutions, and to share experiences and successes. If you wonder if you are alone as a caregiver, you can easily find someone at a support group who will listen and offer support.