Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Caregiver support groups

I worked on a contract delivering Health Information to seniors. One aspect of my job was to visit Support Groups (SG) and Caregiver Support Groups (CSG) to provide them with information. Support Groups are an excellent way to deliver timely information, to find resources through a health care professional. The facilitator should have qualifications in some aspect of human relations and health care, and training in group dynamics. Caregiver Support Groups provide that extra dimension in that they have to be tailored to meet the needs of a care provider, with a diversity of care recipients. They are providing care to spouses or parents with dementia, chronic health issues, or physical, social or emotional disabilities.

Usually Caregiver Support Groups meet monthly, and can be held in legion or community centre. They need to be local, since care providers are often burdened and those with particular health disabilities may have transportation or mobility pieces that compound the timely delivery of support.

These groups should be free, and sponsored by non-profit TPAs, LHINs, or government health care. Many hospice groups offer bereavement support, but check with organizations around you. Most groups run about an hour and a half or two hours, depending upon the needs of clients. They offer a variety of activites, information, guest speakers, remaining flexible around the needs of the particular group members.

Discussions can include topics such as:

  • stress relief and self-care
  • good health
  • exercise
  • health facts: preventing hypertension
  • chronic care issues
  • recognizing stress
  • preventing burnout
  • signs of dementia
  • what to expect in end-of-life care

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