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5 Challenges and Benefits of joining a dementia support group

5 Challenges and Benefits of joining a dementia support group

Support groups are a platform for people going through similar hurdles and concerns in life to get together and share. Their purpose is multifold—exchanging information, sharing experiences and learnings, providing a counsel, lending support and understanding.

Challenges of joining a support group

support group 1The benefits of support groups for caregivers of dementia have also been established by various researchers. However, still many individuals are unable or unwilling to lend their strength to the support group.

Here are some of the reasons that inhibit people from becoming and staying a part of a dementia caregivers’ support group:

1. Lack of time and a busy schedule – Sometimes, it’s hard for individuals to take out the time from their hectic schedules of job pressures and caregiving and they find it hard to make time for support groups.

  • It would be a good idea to take out time for yourself to unwind amongst others who really do need your support.

2. Overwhelmed by the pressures of caregiving – Caregiving can be extremely taxing and it the midst of it all, it can be hard to add another task in the list of things to do.

  • While caregiving is hard, a support group intends to make it a little less hard. It’s a place for you to come and find solution and also support those who can benefit from your learnings

3. Believing that support groups won’t help – Many people might not directly see a benefit in support groups. They might feel that talking about something stressful would increase its impact.

  • Sharing leads to catharsis and helps you fee lighter. Support groups help you see that there are others who are coping and you can help make it better for them.

4. Believing that you know everything that there is to know – Sure, we all do a lot of research when a loved one has dementia. We may feel that no new information is required by us for caregiving. Going to a support group on a day when no expert will be coming feels like a fruitless task.

  • The purpose of support groups not just information sharing, but also experience sharing. The accumulated experiences of the group would help the group expand their mutual understand of dementia and its caregiving.

5. Stigma – The stigma attached to a disease like dementia often prevents us from feeling comfortable in sharing. We may feel guilty about speaking about our loved one is such a fashion

  • Dementia is just like any other physical illness. It too has genetic causes such as family history and environmental causes such as hospitalizations. All the people who are part of the support group need awareness and support. We must let go of the stigma.

Benefits of joining a support group

support group 2Sometimes it’s just too exhausting being a caregiver. Knowing that there is someone out there who understands can lend a great deal of support. Being part of a dementia support group can be extremely beneficial.  Some support groups include professionals and doctors to provide their expert advice that can clear out doubts that we hold about dementia and caregiving. While expert advice can be extremely useful, support groups (with or without experts) can offer something way beyond that.

Just the mere presence of a group can be surprisingly therapeutic. Here are 5 reasons how:

1. A Platform for All Who Understand

Support Groups are a platform on which people, who are going through a similar set of problems, can come together and share. When our loved one with Dementia is pleasant and cordial in front of a friend or family member, they often look at us wondering why we complain about how difficult they can be. It can be frustrating for a caregiver to not feel understood. But in a room full of caregivers, everyone understands.

They understand your pain when your loved one starts to forget you, or asks about a loved one who has passed away. They understand your frustration when you can’t convince them to wear diapers, or go to bed. They can relate to your guilt when you end up ignoring them or shouting at them. They understand as they go through many of these struggles themselves.

2. Experiential Learning

Yes, we have been reading books and blogs and articles of Dementia and caregiving. However, learning through the experiences of others can be more than useful. In a support group where people with varied experiences in dementia caregiving are coming together, you may discuss and find a solution to your own caregiving problems.

You may even choose to make a profession out of Dementia Caregiving or a related profession. The valuable insights and interactions would help you enhance your skills of caregiving and provide you with a more solid knowledge base.

3. Take Care of Yourself

While trying to do our best to survive the role of a caregiver, we often overlook ourselves and our own problems. Meeting others, helps us realize that life must go on for everyone. We must take out time for ourselves and we must work on ensuring our own happiness and contentment even along with our additional role as a caregiver.

Sharing your troubles leads to a release that reduces the distress you feel hovering around you. It leads to a catharsis that helps in personal healing.

4. Oh, the Joy of Giving

It’s well established as a fact that helping others increases our own levels of happiness. Sharing solutions to problems that others are still struggling with, or providing a support or counsel to another person can provide us with indirect support and satisfaction. It would be a wrong assumption to make that the benefits of mutual support are only in the receiving, as giving support is also a healing activity.

Other that being therapeutic to us, it is a noble task to help and support those who are as lost as we once were. It helps in creating a community of people who mutually support each other and help reduce the overall burden of dementia caregiving.

5. Power in Numbers

There is some power in knowing that there are others out there who go through similar problems as you. It can be reassuring to know that you are not alone. If they can do it, so can you. Together we can help make this task a little less challenging by sharing, raising awareness giving advice and providing support.

We at Samvedna Senior Care aim to help seniors live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two complementary goals – firstly to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia and hence social interaction, and secondly to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.

Cognitive Wellness Programme, Sector 57  Gurgaon  –
Samvedna’s Cognitive Wellness Programme is designed for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, early dementia or Parkinson’s, and elderly lacking in enthusiasm and motivation. The aim is to stimulate the mind of the elderly to slow the progression of the disease or impairment. The sessions are 3 days a week, 11AM-1PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/cognitive-wellness-programme

Our Dementia Care services are

At-home services –
Dementia intervention activities by trained Care Specialists (already mentioned above). These services are available in Delhi NCR and Guwahati
More –https://www.samvednacare.com/service/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659 | Guwahati – 9864015872

Dementia Support Group –
Our Dementia Support group in Delhi NCR and Guwahati is a platform for caregivers to share feelings and support each other.
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659 | Guwahati – 9864015872


Samvedna Senior Care, G-7 Oriental Villas, Sushant Lok III, Sector 57, Gurgaon

Samvedna Senior Care, C-13 Anand Niketan, New Delhi