Attending self-help groups
Taking care of yourself
"I have been to a self-help group for people with dementia several times. I really get something out of it. Sometimes I even get the feeling that I have helped someone. That makes me feel good." (Peggy)
"I didn’t know what to expect when I went to the first meeting for carers. I was relieved to find that there was another man there and we got talking straight away. It’s so good to talk to people who know what you are going through and who are willing to share their knowledge and experience." (Derek)
Most Alzheimer associations organise self-help groups for carers. Some also have groups for people with dementia. Attending such group meetings gives you the chance to meet other people who understand what you are going through. Many are in a similar situation as you or have already experienced some of the problems you are now having. You don’t have to confide any more than you want to but talking together may enable you to release some of your frustration and express your fears. People share information and give each other emotional support.
Sometimes, it might be more important for you to have information whereas at other times, you might benefit most from venting your feelings. Meetings can also provide an opportunity simply to socialise for those who want it. (Self-help groups usually have rules including a confidentiality clause so you don’t need to worry about anything you say being repeated outside the confines of the meeting.)
The mere fact of getting out and meeting different people can give you a break. If you feel uneasy about going alone, take a friend with you the first time. You can find the contact details of your nearest Alzheimer association in Annex 2.
Last Updated: Friday 11 September 2009