One of the most under-utilized resources in our community is support groups for caregivers. According to AARP, there are over 40 million unpaid caregivers (i.e., family members, close friends) in the U.S. and Mississippi has its fair share. These numbers will continue to rise with the aging population resulting in devastating burnout among those providing care.
While caring for anyone with an illness or disability is challenging, we see higher rates of caregiver burnout for those taking care of a loved one with a dementia diagnosis. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that there are over 207,000 family caregivers in Mississippi. Every day, sometimes every moment, is different and mostly unpredictable. These family caregivers are to be commended as many are still working full-time jobs and even raising their own children.
The complexities involved in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are significant, and there is no magic pill or perfect answer for what you are going through. We highly recommend joining a caregiver support group if at all possible. While many are still using technology like Zoom to get together, some are beginning to gather in person again, observing Covid safety protocols. This is a time to listen to other’s stories, receive practical advice, offer your own care strategies, and simply be reminded that you are not alone. Don’t be scared or intimidated to just show up. These groups are for people just like you, many experiencing a similar journey. You may be surprised at how healing a support group could be.
Caregiver support groups can be found in most areas of the state. One such group serving the Jackson Metro area is held at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison. For more information about meeting times and locations, you can email Jane Goff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Every month, a speaker is brought in to help facilitate discussion and offer valuable information for caregivers.
If you are needing assistance caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, please call Covenant Caregivers at 601-856-5660. #alzheimers #caregivers