What kind of support group do you prefer?


I'm interested in joining a caregiver support group, but I don't know what kind to join. I understand that there's open groups (people come and go, more informal, ongoing, volunteer facilitator who has been a caregiver) and closed groups (same people structured, 10 weeks or so with a professional in the field of aging/caregiving as a facilitator). The first seems more social and I'm concerned that a closed group may be too clinical, but maybe it would be more educational, too. What has been your experience with support groups? What format would you recommend?

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For me, the open groups were most beneficial b/c there's no cookie-cutter formula for caregiving and no one has all the answers. A few times a week I got to meet "fresh meat" with new ideas, and had the opportunity to expand my support network.
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I definitely prefer one for caregivers of persons with the specific condition my loved one has. I tried a more generic one first. Not as useful (but still better than no group).

The group I belong to was just getting started when I joined, and we kind of evolved as we went. We started out more structured and had an educational session each time, but what seemed to meet our needs best was much less structure and more interpersonal exchange.

Caregiving isn't over in 8 weeks or 10 weeks. The need for support is ongoing. And no matter how committed to the group we are, few of us can really make every scheduled meeting. It is the nature of caregiving that some flexibility of scheduling is required.

Our group has a pretty large library of educational material, and most of the time people seem to prefer to take it home and read it rather than have an expert come in and talk, although we've had that, too.
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I have never been to a support group but what would be the downside if you were to try each one to see what you prefer? Just a thought. Blessings
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