If you feel isolated or overwhelmed by your responsibilities, it can be helpful to find a support group of other people who face similar challenges. Think about whether you want to find a group with a general caregiving focus or one that focuses on specific issues (for example, if your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s). If you cannot find a group locally -or you cannot fit a meeting into your schedule- you may be able to find a support network online.
Here are some places to start looking for a support group that meets locally:
- Area Agency on Aging (AAA): To find the agency in your area, click on the Eldercare Locator link in the links section below.
- Children of Aging Parents (CAPS): This caregivers’ organization lists many support groups on its web site; the organization also refers caregivers to appropriate groups anywhere in the U.S.
- The Well Spouse Association: This support organization for caregivers has many affiliated groups around the country.
- Disease-specific organizations: You may want to look for a group that deals with the specific health issues your loved one faces. If you can find the appropriate health association (such as The American Cancer Society) they can usually refer you to the appropriate support group. Start with the yellow pages.
- Local senior centers, nursing homes and adult day centers. These services can often refer you to support groups. You can find these facilities through your Area Agency on Aging.
- Your local library. Check out the library’s community postings.
- House of worship: Churches and synagogues often keep lists of community resources and sometimes run their own support groups.
Here are some places to start if you are looking to connect with other caregivers online:
- Family Caregiver Alliance: This California-based not-for-profit organization offers several online support groups for caregivers and their loved ones.
- The Well Spouse Association. The group’s web site has a chat board that connects caregivers with others facing the same issues.
- Children of Aging Parents (CAPS): The organization sponsors an online support group that you can access through the web site’s home page.