The Top 5 Caregiver Support Forums Online
Serving as a caregiver for a close friend, family member, or parent is one of the most challenging tasks anyone can engage in, and it often feels daunting, especially for those who are just getting started. Whether caregivers are helping someone with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, or eldercare, it is physically and emotionally demanding. According to a report from the Home Instead Senior Care Network, 31 percent of family caregivers say they need more help.
The stress intensifies for people who are caregivers on top of maintaining another job or has children to care for. Without enough support, caregivers can experience disturbed sleep patterns, digestive issues, weakened immune systems, anxiety, and feelings of isolation.
Fortunately, caregivers do not need to operate alone. Here are the five best online caregiver communities with valuable information for anyone in the caregiving field:
Family Caregiver Alliance
Family Caregiver Alliance is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and engaging with caregivers. FCA develops resources and publications with caregivers’ needs in mind. The organization’s website has myriad resources for any caregiver, including people who are just getting started and must identify their needs. In addition, there are support groups to help caregivers work through the daily challenges of the job.
FCA has webinars and a newsletter to help caregivers connect with each other. The organization offers classes, workshops, events, and retreats for caregivers to hone their skills and meet others.
CareGiving.com is an online community for caregivers to engage with each other. In addition to providing resources on the stages of being a caregiver, the website has polls and chat rooms. Caregivers can create an account to participate in daily, weekly, and monthly chats. The organization will also be hosting its first annual caregiver conference in Chicago in December to further address the ongoing needs of caregivers.
The website has a stress poll to help caregivers identify how their role is impacting their physical and mental health. The organization’s goal is to increase awareness and boost resources for those who care for family members.
Here’s a link to a recent blog post on caregiver stress.
AgingCare.com has an extensive section for caregiver support. The resource page acknowledges the difficult reality of providing care for elderly parents or relatives. The websites provides information on getting started as a caregiver, as well as more difficult topics, such as emotional wellbeing and caregiver burnout. It also addresses the more challenging aspects of providing care.
The website also has discussions and boards where caregivers can ask questions and engage with other caregivers. Many people can gain support through this community.
AARP Online Community
The AARP website has a number of resources for people who need to consider eldercare and other needs. However, it also has a discussion board for caregivers. People post topics to get feedback from others. Because providing care for an older parent or relative can be so difficult, many caregivers are able to find support through these discussion groups and learn more. The discussions include specific tags so caregivers can find their specific areas of interest, such as dementia, caring for parents, Alzheimer’s disease, agoraphobia, and more.
Caregiver.com is a comprehensive online community that offers magazines, newsletters, and conferences, as well as resources and caring tips. The website’s Care tips are interactive and caregivers can submit their own, in addition to reading the previous suggestions. Conferences are a great way for caregivers to meet other people and learn new skills.
Caregiver.com has a great deal of resources and support for caregivers, including articles on specific topics such as cancer, low vision, medication management, long-term care, and caregiving in rural areas. Some pages also provide organizations that can assist caregivers with their specific needs or tips on how to handle specific issues.
Caring for a relative or close friend is challenging and often isolating, but there are plenty of online resources that can make a difference. Online communities can help caregivers feel more connected and supported.