Support. There are many forms of support that we find acceptable and often necessary. A supporting beam in a house is necessary because without it our homes would not be strong (and able to bear all of this snow). We have no problem supporting our favorite sports team far and wide. Athletes accept this support and often use it to compete with greater enthusiasm. In a professional work setting teamwork and collaboration is essential to making a difference and achieving big goals. What about reaching out for support when we are on a difficult journey, like caring for an ill or aging loved one, is so intimidating? Why is that type of support so difficult to accept or be a part of even though it is just as essential as the supporting beam in a home?

Feeling supported can be the difference between thriving and just barely surviving during your caregiving journey. Caregiver support groups are a great place to find the support you need. There is something about talking with people that understand the challenges you face and difficult emotions you feel (such as guilt, resentment, fear, and exhaustion) that makes it all just a little easier to bear. The benefits of support groups are well documented and researched. shares 8 key benefits of caregiver support groups:

  1.      Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged
  2.      Gaining a sense of empowerment and control
  3.      Improving coping skills
  4.      Reducing distress, depression or anxiety
  5.      Developing a clearer understanding of what to expect with your situation
  6.      Getting practical advice or information about treatment options
  7.      Improving your caregiving ability and giving a better quality of life for the person you are caring for
  8.      Helping you keep your loved one at home longer.  

Have you ever felt lonely, isolated, or a little lost in what might be a new role for you? If so, consider attending a caregiver support group!

The ADRC of Northwest Wisconsin is pleased to announce the formation of the Burnett County Caregiver Support Group beginning on Thursday, March 28. The group will meet the fourth Thursday of every month from 10:30 am-Noon at the Grantsburg Public Library. This is a new and very necessary resource in Burnett County.

There are different kinds of support group including in-person groups, like the Burnett County Caregivers Support Group, telephone support groups, groups for caregivers caring for someone with a specific disease (like Alzheimer’s disease), online support groups (some even through Facebook), peer-led groups and groups led by a trained facilitator. The key is finding what works best for you. Reaching out may not be easy, and you may have to step out of your comfort zone to find the support you need. It will help to do some research to learn about the group beforehand and don’t feel obligated to stick with a group if it doesn’t feel right for you. Reach out for help finding a group if you are having a difficult time, and be sure to keep an open mind during your search.

We hope you find the support you need in the way that works best for you. Remember, a house is not expected to have strength without support, and neither are we! If you need help finding a caregiver support group call the ADRC of Northwest Wisconsin at 877-485-2372.

Submitted by: Carrie Myers, Resource Specialist, ADRC of Northwest Wisconsin

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