By Torie Temple
Evelyn Hunter, facilitator for the Floyd Memorial caregiver support group, and Terry Graham, registered nurse at Helping Hands Companion Services, give the top recommendations to consider when stepping into a caregiver role.
5. Consider a Support Group
The question of going to a caregiver support group depends on each person and his or her personality, Evelyn says. “Go to one meeting and see if it’s for you. A lot of people think that when they go to a support group they will have to share their story, but that isn’t always the case. You can go just to listen.
“It is an excellent starting point for new caregivers to get information and resources,” Evelyn continues. “It is also an excellent way to get ideas by listening to others who have been through what you are going through. Everyone does things differently, and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. But it could generate ideas or validate feelings. Sometimes going to a support group the first time can open people up and help them realize that what they are going through is normal.”
The caregiver support group at Floyd Memorial meets the first and third Thursday of every month with doors opening at 5:30pm and meetings beginning at 6. The group invites outside speakers and educators to give more insight on topics they have been discussing.
This or any local support group provides a way to help caregivers care for not only their loved ones but for themselves as well. “A caregiver has to take care of themselves,” Evelyn says. “They need enough sleep. They need to eat well and always keep up good habits.”