There are an estimated 65.7 million family caregivers in the United States right now. With so many people belonging to the same community, it seems odd that caregivers would feel alone…but they often feel extremely isolated from the outside world. It’s an occupation that brings on feelings of loss, stress, financial problems and an ever-changing family dynamic. So, where can millions of caregivers turn for some much-needed community support? Keep reading to find out.
With so many adult children now caring for aging parents, they inevitably need somewhere to turn. That is where caregiving organizations come into play. These groups are founded by caregivers and are run by caregivers. The main goal for each of these organizations is to provide support and a positive outlet for caregivers.
There are different types of organizations for every caregiver. Some of the largest national organizations are:
- Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA)
- National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC)
- Caregiving Action Network (CAN)
In addition, there are disease-specific caregiver organizations. If you find yourself caring for a parent diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, you could choose to join The Alzheimer’s Association.
One of the newest trends in caregiver organizations is location specific. These communities are known as caregiving coalitions. Currently, there are over 90 coalitions targeted specifically to area communities around the country.
Caregiver coalitions are a conglomeration of other organizations and smaller groups that come together for the sake of supporting caregivers. Meetings may take place anywhere in the town that is convenient for members to get together. Common places are community centers, senior centers, hospitals or an AARP state chapter office.
So, what do all these organizations really have to offer caregivers? Groups may have unique access to local caregiver services, offer members information specific to the occupation of caregiving or lobby for policy changes and improvements. Many groups also host conferences to promote issues surrounding caregivers, offer stress-reduction classes, provide resource fairs and offer online social media outlets.
If you are a caregiver, one of the most important resources you will ever have is other caregivers. If you are feeling isolated and emotionally drained due to caring for a loved one, joining one of these organizations could make a huge impact. Often times, just having someone to talk to can make a world of difference. Imagine how much it would help to access thousands of people who understand exactly what you are experiencing! A quick online search will help you find the closest caregiver organization in your area.