How Online Caregiving Communities Can Help

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Caregivers face challenges they may never have expected. Many are caring for aging parents while struggling to juggle their own children’s needs and a full-time job. Others are providing care for a senior loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease and trying to find ways to manage difficult behaviors.

What we know about caregivers is that they are usually female. They are the wives, daughters and daughters-in-law of someone who needs care. Connecting with people who share their struggles is one of the best ways to relieve the stress of caregiving. Sometimes the best solution is an online support group.

How Online Support Groups Help Caregivers

Caregiver support group members can help one another with everything from coping with guilt to relieving fears. Sharing feelings with those who are facing a similar challenge is the biggest advantage of an online support group. The moral support and understanding peers provide can make caregivers feel understood. They also help by offering:

1. Anonymity. Some caregivers are more comfortable and will be more honest in sharing their feelings if they can do so anonymously. If they lost their temper and shouted at a demanding parent or broke down in tears after a loved one with dementia refused to sleep all night, it can be easier to share those frustrations with strangers.

2. Flexibility. Another advantage online caregiver communities have to offer is that members can participate when their schedule allows. They can join a chat forum at 2 pm when their loved one is napping or at 3 am when anxiety keeps them from sleeping.

Online Caregiver Support Groups

Caregivers have many options for joining online caregiver communities. The majority of them are free. Here are a few that rank high with family caregivers:

1. Family Caregiver Alliance is one of the best. They are associated with the National Center on Caregiving.

2. Caring.com is rated high by families because they combine education and reviews with support groups.

3. AgingCare.com also combines educational resources and articles with support groups.

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