Memory Support - January 1, 2023

The Importance of Dementia Support Groups for Family Caregivers

If you are the primary caregiver for a parent or family member living with dementia or another form of memory impairment, you understand firsthand how meaningful your role is in their life. However, this responsibility also comes with some challenges, and it is important that you know that you are not alone.

Dementia support groups can help with this.

At Rivertown Ridge, our senior living community in Wyoming, Michigan, hosts a monthly support group for family caregivers because we understand the importance that this sense of community can have. Our team is sharing the benefits of dementia support groups and why they are so important.

Become a Part of a Community that Understands You

Some challenges and emotions come with caring for a person living with dementia that those who have not been impacted by dementia do not understand. As much as they may want to, they don’t know what you are going through or how to offer support and advice.

Fortunately, dementia support groups are made up of people who are going through similar situations as you. As a result, you can feel comfortable voicing your frustrations and accomplishments or milestones without having to explain yourself. “The common experience among members of a support group often means they have similar feelings, worries, everyday problems [or] treatment decisions (”

While every individual’s and family’s experience with dementia is different, members of a support group can relate to your experiences, offer tips and provide comfort that you are not alone.

An Opportunity to Socialize

When caring for a person living with dementia, it is easy to get swept up in your responsibilities and isolate yourself from friends and other family members. It may seem like there is not enough time to get out and socialize with others, but we are social creatures; connecting with others is an important part of our health and wellness.

By joining a dementia support group, you have an opportunity to meet new people and connect with others. While they can offer direction on your dementia care journey, they can also offer companionship and connection.

Learn New Caregiving and Coping Techniques

You do not have all the answers when it comes to providing dementia care, and neither do any members of a dementia support group. However, you each have experience in caregiving and can learn from one another by passing along tips and techniques.

All advice is welcome and beneficial, whether it is a caregiving tip or a stress relief technique.

Gain a Different Perspective

You may feel frustrated about your situation from time to time, and that is okay. However, attending a dementia support group and listening to other caregivers’ stories could give you a new perspective and appreciation for where you are on your journey.

“The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems (”

Understand What to Expect in the Future

Dementia is a progressive condition, with symptoms worsening over time. With this being said, there is a good chance that someone in your dementia support group is caring for an individual whose dementia has progressed further than your loved one. This can serve as an opportunity to learn and understand what you could expect in the future.

Dementia affects everyone differently but pay attention to the stories these family caregivers share to help get an idea of how your loved one’s condition may progress.

Taking on the role of caregiver for a loved one living with a form of dementia is admirable. While this is a rewarding and meaningful role, remember to take care of yourself to avoid caregiver burnout. You cannot be the best caregiver you can be if you are not also healthy yourself.

We invite you to visit our website and learn more about the monthly family caregiver support group we host at our senior living community in Wyoming, Michigan.