Aging Matters offers caregiver support groups for the
family caregivers of declining older adults. These groups can be conducted in different ways to meet different
needs. They can be open to all-comers or restricted to certain participants - e.g., the caregiving spouses of
declining mates, or the caregiving children of declining parents. They can be more didactic, focusing on specific pre-defined
topics each time, or more experiential, just inviting participants to raise the current issues that concern them. They
can be time-limited (with a pre-defined number of sessions) or indefinite in duration (as long as the group holds together).
Caregiving Support Groups can be provided throughout the NYC metro area at:
- sponsoring senior care facilities or senior living residences
Aging Matters headquarters office in White Plains
- the private practice offices of our affiliated psychologists
Why Caregiver Support Groups?
The caretaking families of older adults often encounter extraordinary stress when
their loved ones begin to decline. As physical and cognitive infirmities emerge, new demands for support arise, and
old ways of relating are disrupted. Interpersonal tensions often surface with the declining adult, who may require more
care than they are willing to acknowledge, or may become over-dependent in reaction to their infirmities. And tension
can arise with other family members, who may be likewise struggling to cope with their own stress reactions. Sometimes
difficult decisions need to be taken, precipitating personal uncertainty and disagreement among family. Family caretakers
can become so stressed that they feel overwhelmed. Indeed, caretakers sometimes develop adjustment reactions with clinical
levels of anxiety and/or depression.
Aging Matters offers caregiver support groups that truly help. Caregivers
are given a secure forum to express and unburden themselves. They discover that they are not alone in their feelings
or unusual in their reactions. They get emotional support and learn from other members of the group. They
are guided by an experienced group facilitator who is also a gero-psychologist. They learn how to cope better with their stress,
as well as the stress of family members. They learn better ways of supporting their declining loved ones, ways
of reaching difficult decisions, and ways of maintaining mature adult relationships despite the increasing dependency of loved
ones. And, if group members manifest serious signs of anxiety or depression, they can be readily referred to an
individual psycho-therapist who knows how to provide the professional help they need.
Aging Matters also offers caregiver support groups for the caregiving staff of senior
facilities. These groups help staff to cope with the stress of servicing their clients, while providing "just-in-time"
staff development. The format of an ongoing support group serves two functions: it offers a forum for staff to
discuss client-care issues of current concern, while also serving as a vehicle for in-service training that progressively
builds caregiving and teamwork skills.