“I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” was a popular song in the 60s, and it’s a song that many of today’s 53 million family caregivers can relate to. 

As the aging population continues to grow and the annual cost of care in a nursing home is just under $100,000 for a private room, the number of family caregivers is steadily increasing – with no signs of slowing down. And, it’s taking its toll on them.

A 2020 report released by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) revealed that family caregivers are in worse health today than they were in 2015. “Caregiver Burnout” is a condition that millions of caregivers struggle with – physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is a clear indication that it’s more important than ever that caregivers regularly practice “self-care.”

One mode of self-care that is very helpful to family caregivers is regular involvement in a caregiver support group. To help you find the right group, this article will answer some questions that family caregivers frequently ask.

What are caregiver support groups?

A caregiver support group is comprised of caregivers who meet together to help each other stay strong mentally and emotionally, as well as share caregiving methods, tools, and techniques to help them become the best caregivers they can be,

Timewise, I’m unable to attend meetings in person. Are there alternatives?

Yes. Many groups offer telephone conference meetings, online video calls via Skype or Zoom, some via group chat, and others communicate via email.

People express themselves differently. Some share their feelings better when they write, some when they can see other people’s faces and talk on a video call, and others need to meet in person and get a hug. No method is better than another.

How are caregiver support groups structured?

Each group has its own format. Some offer a casual approach and are very interactive, and some are facilitated by a trained moderator or a professional caregiver and are more structured. Peer-led groups provide some of both structures and involve a more relaxed approach

How much does a caregiver support group cost?

The same price as a library card- they’re free!

Do these groups accept insurance?

Since they’re available at no cost, you won’t need insurance to join a group. However, if you decide to seek out professional one-on-one counseling or attend group therapy, you’ll want to check with your insurance provider to find out what’s covered and what’s not.

How can I find a group?

An online search will help you find care groups in your area, and you’ll find national organizations listed as well.

The Caregiver Action Network (CAN) is a helpful resource many family caregivers turn to. They’re a non-profit organization whose goal is to help support all types of caregivers, including caregivers for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, children with special needs, wounded veterans, and people with other age-related debilitating disorders.

CAN specializes in providing education and peer support (via a large community of various caregivers) and resources to family caregivers. All of the services offered are free of charge.

CAN also offers a free help desk (via chat, email, or telephone) to answer any questions you may have about the organization, how to find a support group, or about specific caregiving challenges. To contact the Care Support Team by phone, call 855-227-3640 between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. EST.

Can a professional home care agency help me?

Having a professional caregiver assist your loved one for a couple of hours every day, or just a couple of times per week, can help you practice good self-care and free you up to spend time with a caregiver support group.

If you live in Southwest Florida (Naples, Fort Myers, and Charlotte County), Home Instead can provide you with the personalized in-home senior care you’re looking for. Call us today! We’re here to help.