Support… in Groups

Whether you are the caregiver or needing care, you need a place to be supported. There is a desire in every human to be heard and understood. A place of empathy and sympathy.

As life becomes full of scheduled events and appointments, this crucial time of mental release is missed. The mental health of caregivers is one of the largest factors of potential burn out. In our family, my mother and sister were my father’s primary caregivers and he was in 24-hour care demand. Both of them worked full time jobs, or in my sister’s case school for several years.

My father would have leg cramps, incontinence, and other pains in the middle of the night and yell out to anyone in the house for them to wake up and get him medication or clean him up. If you have ever had a child, you would understand their life – sleep deprivation and shortened patience. You would also be more likely to yell, cry, and justify not talking to anyone because it’s your issue. And when you reach out to your immediate core friends or confidants, they may not have enough soothing words or antidotes to alleviate your stress.

If you are in any type of care situation and need to vent, we can offer several ways you can find help. We understand that you may not want to open up at a support group. And that is okay. Just the fact you are involved in a group may bring you peace. Listening and internalizing other participant’s stories may be the preferred way for you to bolster confidence to eventually open up. Or you may be that person who is open and able to engage.

Consider what format you can be comfortable in. You may be fine with anonymity with just online support chat boards. You type your concern or question and check back with commentary from your community. Some may be real time response, some can be a fishing post, meaning it’s thrown out there and sits at the surface while others respond over time, nibbling at the subject.

You may be more comfortable in a physical location, whether at a church or hospital. Sitting in a room, chairs in a circle, and some format of a meeting is followed. You still have the ability for anonymity with only giving your first name. But this time you have more to the story. You can read the body language of others. What is spoken and unspoken. You can sense the energy and after the meeting approach someone, if desired and privately talk to them.

Our website, UHelpCare.com, is looking to bridge the two together. We see positives to both types, but time and situations can leave you unable to be in two places at once. And if you are caregiving and on your own, the ability to find care to replace you while at a support group may not be financially feasible. We are looking to develop an online support group forum where there are “rooms” you can join and attend video group chats and have peer level moderation, no professionals, just chat monitors who can protect the group. We are also looking to develop a discussion board, post a topic and let the community respond.

As we grow in our community, we need your feedback and give us your ideas on how we can fit your needs.

In the meantime, here is a great site for some reflection and help in choosing a support group. This website targets those who live in British Columbia, Canada, but the checklist and follow up questions are spot on recommendations.

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Love and Compassion,

Rebecca

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