How to Find Family Caregiver Support Groups and Resources

If you’re a family caregiver for an elderly loved one – or anyone who needs assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs) – you might feel very alone at times. You may discover that connecting with an online or in-person caregiver support group can help recharge your exhausted body and mind.

For others, having access to educational information about their loved one’s condition and treatment options can provide insight that increases your ability to serve them well. Some family caregivers are so weary that they begin to think about ways they can get additional help for the physical and emotional support they’re providing on a regular basis. 

Studies show that family caregivers face many challenges that have an impact on their own health. Making time for self-care can help minimize the impact of some of these common problems caregivers face:

  • Greater stress and frustration
  • Depression and isolation
  • Poor physical health
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Financial strain
  • Short-term memory issues
  • Increased substance use

In addition to encouraging you to practice self-care, we are sharing a variety of resources that can provide assistance to you and your loved one.

Addressing Your Feelings About Being a Family Caregiver

As a family caregiver, you may be experiencing a wide range of emotions as you think about the support you’ve been providing for your loved one, as well as the reality of needing additional help from an in-home caregiver.

Some people feel guilty that they can’t meet all of their family member’s needs. Perhaps you’re hesitant to trust someone to care for your mom or dad the same way you do. And if you’re hiring a caregiver for your child, that can create some really big feelings.

We want you to know that we get it. We truly do.

We understand the concerns that go through your mind when you bring a caregiver into your family member’s home. It’s the essence of our origin story. BrightStar Care was founded to provide A Higher Standard® of care that meets your loved one’s needs and provides you with peace of mind.

Download our guide with more family caregiver resources and support.

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Caregiver Support Groups Near You

Family caregivers are likely to experiencing burnout, exhaustion and self-doubt about this new role in their life. In addition to considering Respite Care, making smart self-care choices related to your own nutrition, sleep, exercise, social activities, respite and exercise, it’s tremendously important to connect with other people in the same situation.

In the past, if you wanted to find peers who are dealing with similar family caregiving challenges, you’d be limited to your local area. While local support groups are still a wonderful way to connect, we are fortunate to be able to reach out beyond our communities – especially for those who live in rural areas, lack transportation, have physical limitations or have other barriers to meeting in person.

Online groups – like those you’ll find on social media platforms – can be a fantastic resource, but you should be cautious about which groups you join. Make sure the group is led by a credible organization or reputable individual.

Sometimes it’s hard to verify credibility initially, but start by making sure it’s a private group with requirements to join and community guidelines. It’s also smart to observe the conversations before jumping in with your own comments – and be tentative about how much personal information you share. Here are some options to consider:

Please note that BrightStar Care is not affiliated with these groups and does not take responsibility for activity within the groups.

Of course, attending an-person group also addresses some of the isolation you may feel and gives you an opportunity for the human-to-human contact we all need when feeling depleted. Here are some suggestions for finding local caregiving communities:

  • Family Caregiver Alliance® includes a state-based search option that serves up a list of resources within your state. You may need to dig down a few levels of resources until you find what suits your needs, but it’s a good place to start.
  • Your local hospital, community senior center, religious group or social service agency may be able to put you in touch with caregiver support groups.
  • Your friends and your parents’ friends may have groups they’re a part of, even if they haven’t mentioned it. Reach out to your close connections to see if they have suggestions for local support groups that have a healthy approach to dealing with the challenges of being a family caregiver.

Resources for Family Caregivers

Even if you bring someone into your loved one’s home to provide Personal Care, Companion Care, Memory or Alzheimer’s Care, or Skilled Nursing*, you’re likely to continue providing some level of caregiving yourself.

Your local BrightStar Care agency can share a wealth of information with you and answer your questions. You can also find the following family caregiver resources online:

Adapting to Changing Family Dynamics

Even families with very healthy relationships have their ups and downs. Misunderstandings and disagreements can become amplified when dealing with an ailing family member. Here are some tips for navigating the family relationships that evolve when your parent, spouse or other loved one needs additional help at home:

  • Your loved one didn’t choose this challenge. Whether the need for assistance happened in an instant (a stroke, fall or other sudden medical situation) or gradually (declining physical strength, reduced cognitive skills or a progressive disease), it can be a shock and/or confusing for your family member.
  • They are still the same person you’ve always loved. They raised you, married you or otherwise have a connection to you.
  • And yet, they’re not the same person they were before. Physical disease, mental decline and emotional changes have an impact on how they behave and the things they say. They may also feel helpless and resentful of their current situation.
  • Respect where each family member is on their journey to acceptance. Even if you’re able to easily adapt to this new family dynamic, your siblings or the spouse of your ailing parent may not be able to pivot their feelings and actions as quickly.
  • Recognize the benefit of multiple perspectives. At some point, you and other family members will probably disagree about how to handle a situation. Take a deep breath, listen with an open mind and try to find a decision that takes various opinions into consideration.
  • Practice forgiveness. Of course it’s important to forgive your family member if they’ve said or done hurtful things while navigating their new normal. But it’s just as important to forgive yourself. There will be times when you mistakenly say the wrong thing or your loved one perceives that you’ve slighted them – don’t be hard on yourself. You’re doing difficult things.
  • Commit to self-care. Being a caregiver (even if you also have in-home caregiving help) can drain your battery faster than you’d expect. Make your own health a high priority – your loved one needs you and wants the best for you.
  • Accept that caregiving isn’t just about your loved one. It’s also about you. And you matter.

If you would like to learn more about in-home care, please send us a message, reach out to your nearest BrightStar® Home Care agency or return to the beginning of our online Home Care Guide.

*Skilled nursing and medical service availability varies by location. Call 866-618-7827 for a full list of services or to schedule a free in-home assessment.