A support group is intended to be a safe place for individuals who are facing common struggles or challenges to come together physically or virtually (think Zoom meetings) to share their experiences and gain strength, support and strategies from one another. These meetings are hosted by a facilitator who is an expert in the subject being discussed. The facilitator will help guide the conversation by engaging those in the group in a very calm and safe manner. He or she will encourage those who are comfortable to do so to share their experiences, concerns and/or struggles.
By sharing openly and honestly about our feelings in a support group, we allow others in the group to feel “normal” and “validated” when they learn that they are not alone in their situation. The facilitator in the support group will often begin the meeting with an educational piece on dementia, caregiving or tips to cope with behavioral issues and changes in personality that can be expected when someone is traveling the dementia journey.
When the floor is opened in a support group for individuals to share or ask questions the person speaking is treated with dignity and respect. They are allowed to share emotions and frustrations without judgment or expectation. What is said in the support group STAYS in the support group so there is no worry about discussions that are personal and private leaving the room.
The ability to speak and vent freely is an amazing permission to grant oneself in order to cope with the challenges that come with having a family member struggles with dementia or for the resident that has dementia themselves. It is also amazing in support groups to watch the members of the group bond, support and socialize with one another outside of the group once rapport has been built with the members. Imagine being able to call someone that you know is going through the same journey as yourself for support! This is where the magic of a support group really happens.
If the idea of a memory care support group sounds like what you have been looking for, please call Erica Critchfield at 801-938-9389 and she will help connect you with one of the weekly support groups that we host at Sagewood at Daybreak (currently virtually).