Dementia Support Groups - Who Needs Them?

American National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Dementia support groups are needed more by the care givers than by the care recipients. The caregivers suffer from their own kind of loneliness. Care giving is so demanding that it crimps their social life.

Also, some family members deliberately stay away for fear that they will somehow get involved in the care giving. Some friends stay away because 'they don't want to see the person in such difficult circumstances' or because they are 'busy'.

Loneliness can possibly cause dementia...

...later in life according to a Dutch study published in the Journal Of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry (ref: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23232034).

The study concluded that “feeling lonely … is associated with an increased risk of clinical dementia in later life and …”

A person suffering from dementia also suffers from loneliness because of the loss of cognitive abilities and the resulting loss of independence.

Even though loneliness increases your risk of dementia...

...later in life and dementia inevitably results in loneliness, it is not a vicious circle. That is because the effects of loneliness are felt over a long term and the effects of dementia are felt over a comparatively shorter term.

Dementia results in the loneliness of the...

...care recipient and that of the care giver. As a care giver you have to take care of your physical and mental health so you can continue to take care of the increasing needs of the care recipient.

That means taking care of yourself from the time you start providing the care. Arranging for respite care is an important part of taking care of yourself.

Providing care to a person with dementia is an intensely emotional and physical experience. Arranging for respite care and joining a dementia support group are steps that will help you do well at providing good care. Support groups do understand that they have to provide support for the care recipients and the care givers.     

Some of the websites for dementia support groups are:

alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-support-groups.asp They have a 24/7 help line – 1-800-272-3900

dementia.supportgroups.com At this website you will find participants who are care givers and those who have been diagnosed with dementia.

Access to Respite Care and Help – This website will provide you resources and information about respite care and also a Respite Care locator for the USA.

In conclusion:

Loneliness is one of the smaller problems encountered by care givers and care recipients but it has serious effects on both. It is worth your effort to use the resources mentioned above so you can arrange for respite care and also organize visits by friends and family to reduce the effects of loneliness on the care recipient.



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