Whether your role as a carer or whoever is cared for, it is vital that you have a support system to cover your mental health as you make your way through life. As a carer, you may begin to lose touch with your own mental health as you take care of others. However, you are important too! There are many benefits to joining a support system or group that we will list out below.
On the other hand, for those being cared for, no one knows your mental health better than you do! Hence, joining a support group can also have many benefits and perks to improve the quality of your life. Keep on reading to find out more!
FOR THE CARERS
1. The ability to talk about your struggles freely
There is no shame in the way you may feel about the role in your life as a carer. Everyone has difficult and complicated emotions which may be bothering or troublesome, or even guilt-inducing. Joining a support group with like-minded carers may be able to ease your mind, and get everything you need to off your chest. Support groups are a safe space and should be comforting for those who come up.
2. You can make lifelong friends
It is only human nature that those with who you share deep secrets and dark thoughts feel closer to you. Similarly, those with who you share your thoughts and feelings seem to have a special place with you. As such, your relationship just in support groups can also expand to the outside world, and you can begin to build close friendships with like-minded individuals. Seeing these people outside of a ‘carer’ environment can also allow you to take the time off what you are so accustomed to doing and have a regular day out!
There are many exciting adventures that you can try with these friends, and it is also proven that those with who you enjoy ‘high arousal’ activities can instantly allow you to create stronger bonds. For example, you can take part in adrenaline-rushing activities such as sky diving or bungee jumping. Or, if those types of activities aren’t your style, you can also try watching a horror movie! There are so many possibilities that can lead to growing closer and lifelong friends.
3. Learn about new caretaker methods
Meeting with other carers can also allow you to learn about the methods/ strategies they use to assist with those who need it. For example, you can trade new and exciting cooking recipes, or regarding more serious topics, how they may load a wheelchair into the car in the easiest way. It also allows you to receive various feedback of how you are dealing and managing the different tasks of a carer.
FOR THOSE BEING CARED FOR
1. The ability to connect with those with similar disabilities
Having a disability may make it increasingly difficult to maintain connections with friends, which can lead you to feel isolated and depressed. However, joining a support system can allow you to truly converse with others who may have similar issues to you, causing you to feel less alone. You may also have unpleasant thoughts and feelings which can be normalized and ironed out by simply expressing them to the group.
2. Learn new information about medical treatments
The beauty of support group conversations is that there will always be at least one individual who is fully on top of their game! In saying this, they will be able to update you on all the latest medical gossip, and any new treatments or strategies that are up and coming. From this, you will never be left behind, instead fully ahead of the game and ready to tackle what comes next.
3. Internet groups are just as useful!
If you are unable to leave the home or would prefer not to- internet groups are just as useful and equally as fun! News pages or bulletin boards which can all be created and accessed online are easily accessible and able to be edited by all participants in the support group. This allows you to connect with whoever whenever and wherever you may be when it does not inconvenience you.
Furthermore, if computers and online documents aren’t for you- you can always look into joining telehealth support groups and meetings. This way, you can maintain anonymity whilst sharing your ideas, fears, and advice.
The next step in this journey of yours…
is entirely up to you! Above are just some of the benefits of joining a support group regardless of your role as a carer of a cared for. There are a plethora of options out there in which one is sure to tickle your fancy. Don’t be afraid to branch out and meet more like-minded individuals, as you never know what beauty they may bring to your life! To start off, maybe you could do a bit of research to find out support groups near you, then weed out the ones that you definitely will not join. Then, do a little bit more research. Also, making a pros and cons list of each group may result in a slightly easier decision to be made, as there will be a visual list in front of you.