Caregiving is a strenuous work of love: the physical, mental, and emotional stress can be high and when you're caring for a senior the level of stress usually rises gradually as their health declines. Caregivers often face burnout similar to the symptoms of depression. If you're a caregiver in West Seattle and are starting to feel overwhelmed it a good idea to find some support groups to help you cope with your daily challenges. Usually, it's a matter of starting at the top and working your way down: from the national level to state, county, and local. Here are some ways you can find great support groups in West Seattle:
1. National: On the national level look for sites such as the American Association of Retired Persons AARP), the National Council on Aging (NCOA), the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), and the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC) to locate support groups that are geared to a specific aspect of aging or to your area.
2. State: Check the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services for information on the Family Caregiver Support Program. They can give you a local number for resources such as support groups, counseling, training, and respite care as well as specific problems you may be facing. You can also contact the Home and Community Services (HCS) to see if you or your loved one qualifies for state-paid assistance with aging issues.
3. Local: The King County Caregiver Support Network provides a wide range of assistance to caregivers in West Seattle such as:
Helping to balance family and work responsibilities
Legal and financial concerns
Managing challenging behaviors of seniors
Selecting an assisted living community or home care agency
You can also find local support groups for specific aspects of senior caregiving such as Alzheimer's or diabetes.
4. Online: you can also find support groups online, which is very convenient if you need a quick morale boost or perhaps a simple question answered. Most of the before mentioned sources have websites, and there are many group pages on social media that are geared towards caregiver support.
The main thing to remember is it's okay to reach out. Asking for help, learning how to cope, and just having a place to vent your frustrations can make a big difference in the life of a caregiver. Know the signs of caregiver burnout and find support so you can continue to help your parent in their golden years. Support groups can help you learn how to structure your day, find time for yourself without feeling guilty, find resources for everyday living, and locate respite care for your parent when you need a break.