Question: I desperately need other caregivers that I can talk to. Please help!
Dr. Amy: Of course you do! I've said this before and it's worth repeating: caregiving must be one of the most challenging jobs on earth. Not only is the work physically and emotionally demanding, it’s also complicated by the effects of ill health or diseases such as dementia, cancer, Parkinson's. And by family dynamics.
The big myth is that we should somehow know how to cope. And that's just not true! Unlike firefighters, soldiers, police officers, surgeons, emergency medical teams, and nurses who receive extensive training to help prepare them for the challenges they face day-to-day, suddenly, or with little warning, life can hand caregivers big challenges that we’re not always prepared for.
Talking with fellow travellers can make all the difference. The friendship, understanding, and validation you can experience is priceless. And while it can't erase the diagnosis, the camaraderie and insights can be uplifting and inspiring. Talking with others, you feel you are not alone.
Are there support groups in your community? Often, support is organized by disease state. If the person you are caring for suffers from heart trouble, you can call the Heart and Stroke Foundation. If it’s dementia, call the Alzheimer’s Association. You can also ask your doctor or the hospital for contact information for local support groups. If distance is an issue, I encourage you to check out online support groups. The Caregiver Alliance offers a few. You can read more here.
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