If you’ve been considering going to caregiver support groups to get additional support for yourself, you might have held off because you didn’t know what it would be like. Every meeting has a different dynamic, so you’ll really only know the specifics once you attend a meeting. But this information can help you to get a general idea what might happen.
They’re Usually Informal Meetings
Caregivers often worry that support group meetings are highly structured and formal events that are stuffy. But that wouldn’t do the average caregiver much good. They’re usually informal meetings so that everyone feels comfortable. The most formal thing about the meeting is likely to be that there are set start and end times so that everyone knows what to expect in terms of timing.
Some Have an Open Format
Most caregiver support meetings have what is called an open format. That means that there isn’t usually a lecture or speaker. Instead, a leader or facilitator might open the meeting and handle introductions. Then the meeting might follow a loose format where the leader asks who wants to speak and the group then flows from there. There might be a typical closing in which other information is shared, but again this tends to be more informal.
You Don’t Have to Share
Just because you’re there at the meeting, you don’t have to share. This is especially true at your first meeting. The leader might ask if you are willing to introduce yourself, but that might be all that you’re asked to do if that’s all you are comfortable with. The more you share, though, the more other members can help you with problems you’re encountering as a caregiver.
You Don’t Have to Be at Every Meeting
Sometimes caregivers worry that once they start going to support group meetings they have to go to every single meeting. That is not the case. You aren’t required to go to a meeting unless you want to go. However, going to meetings regularly can help you to get to know other caregivers. You can start to feel more comfortable with them and they get to know you. It’s all
After you’ve been to a couple of caregiver support meetings you might start to get a more concrete idea about what that group can do for you. If you don’t feel as if you’re making a connection with one group, feel free to try different ones. You might have to go to a few before you find the right one for your needs.