How to Care: Running a Support Group
- Is the meeting content relevant to the members' needs?
- Is the meeting location convenient and accessible to the majority of members?
- Is the meeting schedule adequate for members?
- Are members satisfied with the conduct of the group?
- Are members satisfied with their level of participation in the group?
- Have the members' needs changed?
- How will the group publicize its availability to potential new members?
Steps to take
- Select a group leader or rotating schedule of leaders and/or facilitators
- Establish clear ground rules:
- Confidentiality Keep discussions between group members only.
- Respect Let each person speak without interruption.
- Guest speakers Keep introductions short; let guest speakers present their topics.
- Patience Be patient towards group members, especially those in need.
- Constructive discussion Confine group discussions to issues and coping strategies
specific to the group. Deal with external matters privately.
- Group ownership It's your group. Speak out, be respectful, stay on track.
- Finish meetings on time but let attendees arrive as they can.
- Select a meeting place, schedule and meeting format
- Hold regular meetings
- Solicit feedback from members on the effectiveness of the group
- Make group decisions about changes, as necessary.
Sample discussion topics for
caregiver support groups
- responsibilities and rewards of caregiving
- how to handle day-to-day problems
- information on community and support services
- advocating for the care recipient
- effects of change and loss on marital and family relationships
- learning about health boundaries
- warning signs of caregiver stress
- ways to relieve caregiver stress
- taking care of yourself
- what to say and do when you can no longer be a full-time or part-time caregiver
- long distance caregiving
- coping with your feelings
- dealing with grief and moving on
- facing the day when placement in long-term care is a necessity