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Seeking an Alzheimer’s support group is essential for your health and emotional well being as a reliable caregiver of the patient. The stress of living with and caring for a family member who has a terminal brain disorder can be emotionally debilitating and depressing. By joining or creating a support group, you can share common concerns, problems, and solutions. As the caregiver, you will benefit from the emotional, as well as practical, support the members of the group give to you.
The side effects you will experience in your personal life if you do not seek out an Alzheimer’s support group include: lack of sleep, weight loss due to a lack of appetite, decreased socialization or exercise, as well as depression.
If there are no existing Alzheimer’s support groups in your community, do not despair, simply put your energies into establishing one. Here are some questions you can ask when fleshing out the structure of the Alzheimer’s support group.
Aims and Purposes
What are the primary and secondary aims and purposes of the Alzheimer’s support group? Is it to provide education and solutions for family members who care for their parents, or is it to raise awareness and funds about Alzheimer’s disease? Have informal meetings with other families who are in the same situation, and talk to them about the viability of having a support group.
Awareness and Recruitment
In creating informational materials about the Alzheimer’s support group, do not forget to have a contact number and the name of the person who can answer queries.
How do you propose to create awareness and recruit members for your Alzheimer’s support group? Should you create press releases and distribute these to your community newspapers? Can you post flier invitations at the churches, libraries, and senior center bulletin boards? Can you compose public service announcements about the purposes of the group and send them to television and radio talk shows?
Structure, Plans, and Group Mechanics
Where will the group meet? How often and when should the group meet? How will the Alzheimer’s support group function to meet the expectations of the members?
What are viable short term and long term goals, which your support group can meet to help the needs of their members and the community?
Creating an Alzheimer’s support group from scratch is a challenge, but the benefits are invaluable. By establishing an Alzheimer’s support group, you will be with like-minded individuals who can help you solve problems and be there for you as you deal with the grief and pain.