Knowing where to look for caregiver support can be challenging! Being a caregiver for an aging loved one is a deeply rewarding job. However, it comes with a host of challenges. Family caregivers experience increased physical, financial, and emotional stress from having so much on their plate.

It can be difficult to juggle all the responsibilities of your personal life on top of tending to an elderly loved one.

If you are struggling, you are not alone. According to the National Alliance of Caregiving, 4 out of 10 family caregivers rate their situation as highly stressful.

To help you better manage your situation, this article covers helpful resources and caregiver tips.

What Is Caregiver Burnout?

Caregiver burnout is a term used to describe the state when a caregiver has reached extreme fatigue from the role of caregiving. This is often a result of long-term neglect of their own physical, mental, and emotional health.

The signs of caregiver burnout may include anger, anxiousness, restlessness, withdrawal, and more. It’s important to address caregiver burnout immediately to reduce harm to both the carer and the person(s) they take care of.

How Can I Support Family Caregivers?

Family caregivers give so much of themselves to their loved ones but are oftentimes unpaid and underappreciated. If you want to show your support to a friend or relative who has taken on the role of being a caregiver, here are some simple things you can do:

  • Lend a handIt isn’t uncommon for family caregivers to be overwhelmed with so many tasks on their to-do lists. You can help ease their day by sharing some of the responsibilities like simple house chores and errands.
  • Listen with care. Encourage them to speak up about their frustrations when they need to. Listen to their frustrations with care and without judgment.
  • Offer financial assistance. Caregiving can have serious financial consequences. Extending financial assistance can ease their burden and provide more freedom.
  • Acknowledge their hard work. Let them know that their sacrifices and hard work are valued. Hearing compliments and praises can improve a person’s mood and confidence.

What Kinds of Support Are Available for Caregivers?

There are several kinds of support for caregivers. You can seek out helpful information through educational programsEmotional support is available through peer support groups and communities. Financial support for family caregivers can also be acquired through various insurance and state programs.

Professionals Can Support Caregivers

There are several types of professionals that are experts in senior care. Look for people with these areas of expertise who can help guide, manage, and provide useful resources when it comes to caregiving and older adults.

  1. Geriatric Care Manager – A geriatric care manager, often a social worker, licensed nurse, or mental health professional, acts as a “professional relative” who can help identify areas of concern and guide families through difficult times. They can coordinate medical services and provide caregiver stress relief.
  2. Dementia Specialist – If you are caring for an elderly loved one with dementia, it might be helpful to seek out a dementia specialist. Professional geriatricians, neurologists, and geriatric psychiatrists who specialize in brain functions will have a broad understanding of the proper care and treatment for people with dementia.
  3. Geriatric Social Worker – Geriatric social workers are experienced in managing the needs of older adults. They can help provide support, as well as connect you with the senior care resources available in your community. Geriatric social workers will have a wide range of knowledge about older adults and the aging process as well as what help is available.

Caregiver Support Groups

A caregiver support group is a lifeline for caregivers, where they can find helpful information, resources, and emotional support. There are different kinds of support groups – some have in-person meetings, while others are online communities.

There are also disease-specific support groups for caregivers who are taking care of patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, or other illnesses.

The main objective of support groups is to help caregivers develop effective coping strategies so that they can fulfill their roles while also taking care of their own needs.

How Do I Find a Caregiver Support Group Near Me?

You can find caregiver support in your area by contacting a social worker in your community, your local public health department, or by doing an online search. If there are no caregiver support groups in your area, online and virtual groups may be your best option.

List of National Agencies, Groups, and Organizations for Caregiver Support

The following is just a small sample of the caregiver networks available. We will continue to add to this list as more are discovered.

  • Hilarity for Charity (HFC): a national non-profit on a mission to care for families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, activate the next generation of Alzheimer’s advocates, and be a leader in brain health research and education.
  • Caregiver Action Network: a non-profit organization that offers support for all types of caregivers. They specialize in providing education and peer support.
  • National Alliance for Mental Illness: a peer-led support group for anyone who has experiences with mental health problems.
  • Family Caregiver Alliance: FCA provides education programs and resources for family caregivers.
  • American Association of Retired Persons: one of the leading organizations that provide member benefits and support for people aged fifty and older.
  • Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers: founded by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, this institute prioritizes support, coaching, and wellness programs for family caregivers.
  • Well Spouse Association: this national membership organization provides support to spouses of those who have chronic illnesses and disabilities.
  • Working Daughter: an online community that offers education, support, and other helpful programs for working daughters who care for their elderly parents.
  • Alzheimer’s Association: this disease-specific nationwide association provides help and other resources for those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.
  • U.S. Administration on Aging: the official federal agency dedicated to older adults, people with disabilities, and their caregivers.
  • National Volunteer Caregiving Network: NVCN is a wide network that provides helpful knowledge, programs, and more for volunteer caregivers.

How Do I Ask For Support if I Need Help as a Caregiver?

There are many places where you can ask for support. You can contact your local health agency, medical center, senior community centers, churches or other places of worship, or your local hospital.

There are also several online communities and support groups that can provide assistance, education, and therapy for caregivers.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for help from your closest family and friends. It may not be always easy to ask for help but if you make your needs known, many people around you will be willing to lend a hand.

Caregiving Tip: We know that keeping older bodies as healthy as possible is a fall prevention method, so why not ask a family member to exercise with your loved one? These 10 strength and balance fall prevention exercises are a great way to get started.

How do I support a family caregiver if I live far away?

Long-distance caregiving can be a challenge but you can still show support for a family caregiver even if you are far away. Make use of technology to regularly keep in touch with your loved ones, setting aside a day where you can connect with them, whether through phone or video chat.

You can also send them helpful resources to show that you care about their well-being. If the primary caregiver really needs a break, finding (and hiring) a private caregiver to help out occasionally will be a welcome break.

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

There are a lot of challenges that come with caring for a loved one but you don’t have to go through it alone. Senior-specific organizations, agencies, and peer-led groups provide support, education, and financial assistance to family caregivers. 

  • Caregiver burnout happens when a caregiver is emotionally or physically drained from the role of caregiving.
  • Support family caregivers by helping out, taking time to listen to their frustrations, assisting financially if you can, and acknowledging their hard work.
  • There are senior care professionals like geriatric care managers, dementia specialists, and geriatric care managers who can help support family caregivers.
  • Caregiver support groups can be found nationwide and are available in person and online.
  • If you are a caregiver who is struggling, do not hesitate to ask for help. It’s an important step in being supported by those around you.
  • Long-distance caregivers can provide support to loved ones by keeping in touch, sharing financial duties, and assisting financially when possible.

While providing care for your loved one is important, don’t forget about your own needs, your own well-being is essential to keeping yourself and the person you care for safe.

Caregiver Support Frequently Asked Questions

Why do caregivers need support?

Caregivers carry a heavy burden that can take a toll on their physical, mental, and emotional health. Without proper support, they are at risk of extreme emotional fatigue and caregiver burnout.

How do you support a caregiver?

Some of the simple ways you can support a caregiver include bringing them meals, helping out with errands, listening to their frustrations, and extending financial assistance.

How do you provide care to the caregiver?

It is important that caregivers feel loved and supported while they are caring for their sick or elderly loved ones. Show that you care by spending time with them, helping out with small tasks, and acknowledging their hard work.

How do I find a caregiver support group near me?

You can find a caregiver support group through your local health agency, medical center, hospital, or social worker. Doing a search online will also show results for support groups in your area.

An expert in senior care, Amie has professional and personal experience in senior housing, caregiving, end-of-life care, and more from her 24 years of working with older adults.