The thing I found most helpful has been support groups, and classes, and courses in all kinds of things; in grieving, in anger, in dealing with somebody with dementia, and what to expect when you’re going to put somebody into a care facility, what you’re going to go through, what grieving you’re going to go through, but where your best decisions are, and the warnings about what kind of emotions you’re going to feel so you’re not blindsided by suddenly being hit with huge amounts of guilt. It’s so much better when somebody says, “You are going to feel guilty. But you will learn to accept that. Now you’ve turned over the care. Now you can be a daughter or a wife and somebody else can do the care.” Whereas when you’re so tied up in the care, you’re no longer being the very necessary daughter or wife that people need to surround themselves with.
How did you find out about those sources? How did you go about looking for help and support or information?
Well, I heard about Family Caregivers Network fairly early in the caregiving. And I believe it was through a social worker or a doctor. Somebody mentioned it to me, and so I started getting involved with them then and taking courses. And I remember my amazement at the first course I took. [It] was on Coping with Grief and Anger, or identifying what’s grief and what’s anger and some, course like that. And I wasn’t a big person on self-help and courses and stuff, and a lot of people aren’t; people don’t find it easy to ask for help. But that was the first one I took and I was amazed at what it did for me. And so, I just stayed involved in Family Caregivers Network from then on.