A new Caregiver Support Group will be offered for families, spouses, and other caregivers of adults and children with disabilities or disorders such as Alzheimer's, stroke, brain injury, and other chronic debilitating health conditions. 

The Group will meet the third Monday of each month, beginning Monday, Oct. 21, from 6:30-8 p.m. at The Seven Rivers Church Office Conference Room, 4221 W. Gulf-to-Lake Highway, Lecanto.

The Caregivers Support Group fosters a setting for sharing information, insight, advice and encouragement. The group would provide an opportunity to learn from others who face the same challenges, and allow you to talk about your experiences.

Here a some reasons why you should join a Caregivers Support Group:

1. A Great Source of Additional Resources and Useful Information

If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer's Disease or dementia, a caregiver support group can be an excellent resource for information on everything from the symptoms and behaviors to look out for, to effective coping strategies and tips for safely caring for your loved one while helping to maintain their dignity.

Maybe you have tips and resources of your own to share, such as recipes or conversation starters that have helped you to communicate better or calm your loved one down when they are filling distressed or agitated, or having trouble remembering specific details or events. An hour with a support group would not only make you feel better, it can also potentially save you countless hours looking for answers and doing research.

2. Emotional Support

Being a caregiver can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be an incredibly overwhelming and stressful experience, especially if there are illnesses or physical and mental limitations involved. Talking your feelings through with peers, or just simply listening to the experiences of people in a similar situation can have a calming and healing effect. It can also be good for your physical health as well. A healthy outlet for your emotions is an important resource that can help you to develop healthy coping skills.

3. Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Social Isolation

Being a caregiver often means having to make sacrifices in order to make time and be available for the other person. Maybe you used to have a standing yoga date with your spouse or co-worker or looked forward to meeting your college friends for Sunday brunch once a month. Although the sacrifices are usually temporary, losing your social connections, which are often the way many people manage anxiety and stress, can lead to depression and even resentment. Connecting with other caregivers can help to fill the void that opens when you feel disconnected from your life and peers before you became a caregiver.

Worrying about your own stress levels and loneliness may not seem like something you can afford to do when you are focused on caring for someone who is dependent on you, but you can only offer what you have to give. A constant state of stress and anxiety would ultimately make it harder for you to offer someone else your support and attention.

4. Help You to Refresh

Depending on your situation and your loved one's needs, sneaking away for a few hours to get a massage or go for a long run may not be practical. But the simple act of getting out of the house to go meet with a support group can help to recharge your batteries and make you feel less guilty about taking time for yourself if you are struggling with that.

5. Improve Your Quality of Life

You've probably heard the phrase "you can't fill from an empty cup." If you are feeling worn out and depleted, it would ultimately affect your ability to take care of someone else. Investing in your own mental and emotional health is an act of love towards yourself and the person you are assisting.

6. Help to Regain a Sense of Control over Your Situation

Dealing with illness and the aging process is usually an unpredictable situation, and the loss of control for both seniors and their caregivers can be difficult to manage. A support group can help you to make sense of and accept your situation without judging or putting too much pressure on yourself and things out of your control.

7. Gain Perspective

Sometimes the simple realization you are not alone can make a huge difference.

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