You Are Not Alone: Getting Support When You Need It

When you care for a loved one who lives with chronic illness, you may often feel bombarded by the many challenges that arise daily or weekly. Medical crises, endless rounds of doctor’s appointments and just the stress of feeling both responsible and helpless watching your loved one lose physical or mental capacity can leave you feeling isolated and overwhelmed.

The most important thing to know is that you certainly are not alone. There are many others dealing with similar issues, and a great place to find them is in a support group. Sharing with others who know, first-hand, what you’re facing can help you find new advances in treatment, ideas or strategies to manage problems or just a safe place to vent frustrations or concerns.

There are several ways to find support groups in Central Massachusetts. Many care facilities run support groups for residents and families, but may welcome community members. Whether your loved one still lives at home or resides in a care facility, speak with the care facility’s social worker to explore options.

Here are some more regional resources:

Alzheimer’s Association, Mass/NH Chapter
This webpage directs you to a list of active groups in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Call the 24/7 helpline for more information: 800-272-3900.

Dodge Park Rest Home
This Worcester, Mass., rest home hosts an active, long-standing caregiver support group: 508-853-8180.

Central Mass Agency on Aging: Senior Connection
Sponsors several on-line support groups or chats for caregivers; click on the link for Support Groups and Chats in the upper right: 508-852-5539;

Elder Services of Worcester, Inc.
Sponsors the Family Caregiver Support Program and maintains a list of support groups in the area: 508-756-1545.

If you’re uncomfortable or unable to participate in a group in-person, here are some additional online resources:

Alzheimer’s Association Message Boards
Whatever you’re dealing with, chances are you’ll find information here from someone who’s posted on the message boards.

Aging Care Caregiver Forum
Ask a question, start a discussion or just browse for answers to your concerns about a wide range of issues that caregivers face.

Caring.com Online Support Groups
Find support for Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Parkinson’s, cancer, caring for a spouse and much more.

President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, since 1995, Deborah Liss Fins is a licensed independent clinical social worker and certified geriatric care manager. Drawing on more than 30 years of professional experience in geriatric care management, DFA offers comprehensive assessments and planning, guidance in selecting appropriate care, help identifying resources for financial support and professional consulting. Please contact us to set up a complimentary initial telephone consultation.

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