Question: Is this a web site to chat with other caregivers? I need this as I have been taking care of my mother for eight and a half years.
This site does not have a chat room; however, readers can (and do) add comments after any letter, if they like, and start a conversation with others. A letter that I wrote in 2011
about chat rooms received a number of comments, and people shared their experiences in this way. I am filled with compassion when I look at the posts that have come in.
At the same time, as I mention in the above-noted reply to a reader, there are a number of caregiver chat rooms. Many are organized around a specific disease. For example, some are hosted by organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association, for people caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Here is the link to this chat room.
I think chat rooms have a lot of potential, in that they allow people to talk to others without leaving their homes. Sharing your struggles, reading about other people’s challenges, and seeing that you are not alone can bring a real sense of relief.
I know that sometimes, due to exhaustion, stress, and the endless pile of work, it may feel that snatching a few minutes to join a chat room is all you can manage. I also know it can feel like an added burden to hear that you need to take care of yourself— some caregivers feel selfish and guilty taking time out.
Having said that, I do want to encourage you to attend to your needs as well as the needs of your mother. Sometimes, we do not realize how much negative emotion and stress has built up inside until something happens that overburdens us. It can be the case of the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. In addition to joining a chat group, I encourage you to think about the food you eat, exercise, meditation, prayer, and respite care. How might these, too, improve your wellbeing? Speaking personally, I find physical exercise helps me cope with stress. As always, if you have not been exercising regularly, talk to your doctor before beginning a new workout routine. I send you peace and strength.