Monday, September 10, 2012

Strength In Numbers

I remember laughing when I heard this: When someone asks, “How are you?” unless they’re wearing a white coat and a stethoscope, they don’t really care.

There’s a lot of truth to the line. And, as I’ve mentioned here before, in answering the question you don’t want to dump all your troubles on folks all the time. The dumping turns them off and pushes them away from you.

However, there are some folks who might not mind you sharing your caregiving issues as long as you’re willing to hear theirs.

The number of caregiver groups has exploded in the last decade because so many more folks are caregivers. You can find caregiver groups in your religious community, by contacting local health care organizations such as hospitals, care centers, associations (ex., and by asking other caregivers with whom you have come in contact.

However, there are two sides to being part of a caregiver group:
 The positive side is that you realize you’re not in this by yourself and other caregivers may offer practical suggestions to help you move through your experience more effectively and less stressfully.

The negative side is that opening up about the experience does not come easily to everyone and it comes waaaaay too easily for others. So, if you want others to listen and share you usually need to do the same. And, there will almost ALWAYS be a person in the group who shares too much. The down-side comes with the up-side.

Finding the right group can save you if you feel like you’re drowning in the caregiving experience.

Look around and ask around.

Try this: Find half-a-dozen caregivers who have been involved in groups of some kind and ask them about their experiences. Don’t take one person’s recommendation no matter how strong—positive or negative—they are.

There truly can be strength in numbers. You simply need to find the right numbers. 

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