There are many forms of caregiver support. Formal types of caregiver support include support groups for caregivers, community resources, and professional counselors. Informal support for caregivers can come in the form of friendships and family support.
The Family Caregiver Alliance has online support groups for family caregivers. These support groups can be accessed on their website. They also provide a wealth of information about topics related to caregiving and resources for caregivers in the United States.
A practical form of support for caregivers is to get help with the caregiver duties. A family caregiver may want to hire a professional caregiver part-time to give the family caregiver some personal time. Often, a family caregiver takes on the caregiver responsibilities without limiting their other obligations.
By doing this, the caregiver loses the personal time that they had before becoming a caregiver. This can be detrimental as it makes the person more prone to the having elevated levels of caregiver stress which can lead to caregiver burnout. Getting a caregiver to come into the home on at least a part-time basis can give the caregiver some much needed rest or leisure time to help combat the effects of stress.
Another option is to take advantage of resources in the community. Some communities have day programs for seniors. A senior day program allows the senior to spend time doing activities out of the house and gives the family caregiver some free time.
Sometimes, a caregiver needs to be able to discuss their frustrations and caregiver burden with others who understand the situation. Caregivers can also begin to feel isolated if they are focused on caring for an aging relative. Taking time to meet with friends can be important to maintain the sense of feeling connected to others and feeling supported.
Caring for an aging relative such as a parent can be an emotional situation. The caregiver may have mixed feelings about their new responsibilities and how their life has changed in order to provide care. The caregiver may be feeling some resentment towards the aging relative at times that the caregiver feels overwhelmed or stressed.
If the family caregiver is having a difficult time dealing with the stress of being a caregiver or facing the mortality of the aging relative, the caregiver’s feelings can be intense and difficult to cope with. Sometimes it can be beneficial to discuss feeling associated with the aging relative with a professional counselor or therapist.
A family caregiver may need to be honest about their limitations and ask other family members for support. The family members may be able to share more of the responsibilities or help arrange for a professional caregiver to help with the caregiver burden.
There are a number of supports for family caregivers. The caregiver may feel guilty for not being able to handle all the caregiver duties all the time on their own. It’s important for the caregiver to seek and accept help when necessary to avoid caregiver burnout which can cause the caregiver to not be able to help care for the relative.