I am the primary caregiver for my mother, who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. I have been feeling lonely lately, but I am having trouble connecting with people who understand the challenges I am facing. I am interested in joining an online support group, but unsure where to start.
How do I connect with an online caregiver support group?
Laura from Saline, MI
Online Support Groups for Caregivers
Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease can be lonely, especially if you don’t have anyone to talk to about your challenges. An online support group can be a great resource to connect with caregivers experiencing similar difficulties.
Here are a few benefits of an online support group:
- They are available any time of day.
- You can swap advice with other caregivers.
- For some, it is more comfortable to confide in an online group than in-person.
- You have access to a pool of resources.
Connecting with an Online Caregiver Support Group
- Find your group
When joining a support group, be selective. Find a group that is friendly, helpful, and engaged. You can use a few methods to find a group:
- Organizations: Organizations that support your loved one’s condition or situation can be a great way to find a group. For example, if your loved one has Alzheimer’s, consult the Alzheimer’s Association. Ask them if they lead any online support groups or if they can refer any to you.
- Recommendations: Asking for recommendations is another great way to find a group. You can ask friends and family, or any other person you trust.
- Social media: Social media is another resource for finding groups. Facebook and LinkedIn host groups and allow you to search for them directly on their platform. They will even let you know how many members belong to the group and how many posts were recently shared.
- Learn the community
Once you find a group you are interested in, take time to read the community guidelines. On Facebook, the group will often allow you to view the group rules before you request to join.
Before participating, observe the conversations happening in the group. Pay attention to how members interact with one another. Once you feel like you understand their culture and etiquette, you can introduce yourself. Many groups have a thread dedicated to new member introductions.
- Start engaging
Once you’ve introduced yourself and have a good understanding of the culture, you can join conversations. Remember that online relationships work the same way as in-person relationships. It’s great to ask questions, but also offer support from your own experiences when you can.
Finding Emotional Support Through Online Groups
Regardless of what group you join, participating in a caregiver support group can provide you with the emotional support you need to complete your duties and be there for your loved one.
I hope this helps you find and connect with an online caregiver support group!
Heritage Senior Communities
Many of our senior communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living community, offer specialized care for people with dementia. Contact us today to learn more about our memory care programs.