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Caregiver Support

In a controlled study, caregivers who attended a support group and educational classes about the dementia delayed placement for 2 years. The cost of a facility is approximately $60,000 a year, so this 2 year delay saves approx $120,000!  
The study also found  that the use of drugs for behavior management was reduced if caregivers had more support.


 Why is talking with a group of caregiving peers important to you as a caregiver?

     First, your parent is among the first generation in the history of the world to live into late life. In all previous generations, most people died before they reached later life, from disease, war, famine, and just the hardships of living in a difficult world. However, most of the babies born into this generation have survived to become older adults.
      The flip side of that story is that you are part of the first generation to experience caregiving as a normal part of midlife. Not only that, but you are providing care for more years than every generation prior to yours, and providing care for parents who are more frail.

     In previous generations, your parents might have provided care for their aging parent for months, or maybe a few years. Your generation provides care for aging parents for an average of 18 years! Many of you will care for 4 parents, if you assist your in-laws as well as your own parents.
     In the past, people died of their first physical crisis. People died from a heart attack, or a stroke, or of cancer. Now many people survive the first incidents, often for many years – but not completely recovered, not with the same health and vigor they had before the crisis. They need a little help – from you.
     Here’s where a support group becomes important. Since no one in a previous generation has experienced this, you have few options for advice. You are the leading edge. You do not have a model from earlier generations of how to choose between going to your son’s baseball game or going to visit your chronically ill mother. Your friends and neighbors and co-workers don’t know what criteria to consider when you’re faced with making heartbreaking decisions about money, time, and energy. You certainly were not raised knowing how to say ‘no’ to mom or dad.
     A group whose participants are other people currently facing the same issues that you are grappling with can provide support in a way nothing else can.

     Another advantage of discussing aging issues with a peer group is that you become a more knowledgeable caregiver. By drawing on the experiences of other participants, you have information on how to cope with events even before they happen. Most participants will say at some point, ‘Thank goodness I knew what to do, or had heard of that before”. And it’s reassuring to know that you are not the only one who resents the burden of caregiving while fearing the end of it.

   Another great reason to find a peer support group is to share your hard-earned knowledge and experiences with others who may be floundering and wondering where to turn for help. You may be able to guide someone through the process of taking the car keys or moving their parent out of the home where they’ve lived about 100 years.

    Become a better caregiver. Attend your local peer support group.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything they have.

    Peer Support Meetings in Richardson have been cancelled.


There is now a caregiver support group that meets in Coppell, called the Heroes. It meets at the First United Methodist Church, at 7 p.m on the 1st Wednesday evening of every month. Coppell Support Group    Contact Marilyn Horton, marhrton@gmail.com, and she will put you on the reminder list.





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