AlzU Blog

Caregiver Support Groups-What Works, What Doesn’t Work? Part II

Considering all of the pros that have been shown to help Alzheimer’s disease caregivers, when it comes to caregiver support groups,  there are a few drawbacks as well.  But the disadvantages are not usually a result of the groups structure itself, most of the cons have to do with a very unstable rate of attendance by group participants.

Of those attending regular church, senior center, hospital and local Alzheimer’s Association chapters of caregiver support groups, many report poor regular attendance.  This can result in awkwardness of sharing feelings and experiences within the group.  Just what is it that contributes to poor attendance of group members?  According to some experts, it has to do with the reluctance of the caregivers themselves.  Some report a reluctance to attend regularly due to heavy daily schedules, others say they don’t like to talk in groups of people they don’t know.  An additional factor in low attendance rates reported by AD caregiver groups may be related to a significantly higher rate of stress, anxiety and depression in caregivers compared to the general public.

So while statistics show that attending support groups regularly helps caregivers cope with the many trials of caring for a loved one with AD, there are certainly challenges for many local groups.

If you are a caregiver of a loved one with AD who is NOT in need of support, consider attending a local group (on a regular basis) in order to help other caregivers.  If you could use the support offered at an AD caregiver support group, do your best to attend groups regularly to help strengthen the effectiveness of the group.  What goes around comes around, reaching out to help other caregivers just might help you in the long run.

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