If you’re an unpaid caregiver for an ill or elderly family member, you know first-hand how isolating the work can feel. Despite the sheer numbers out there, with a whopping 43% of Americans providing this role for parents or relatives, caregiving can often feel like a lonely and thankless business. Some statistics to consider: between 40 and 70% of family caregivers in a recent study reported symptoms of clinical depression, with roughly 4 in 10 participants classifying their life as highly stressful.
Obviously, it’s critical for caregivers to feel connected to others in the same boat who can relate to the unique demands that homecare brings. Considering more than half of this population is also holding down a full-time job (not to mention other family responsibilities like having children, etc), finding the time for in-person networking can be nearly impossible. Luckily there are several excellent online resources for family caregivers to access support, exchange ideas, and learn new ways of coping. Here are some standouts we’ve learned about through community members and colleagues:
Caregiving.com is an impressive online community whose opening greeting reads “when you care for a family member or friend, we care for you.” They offer an impressive array of support, from webinars to chat rooms, podcasts to blog sharing. Caregiving also hosts an annual conference for caregivers that’s live streamed free of charge for anyone who can’t attend in person.
Family Caregiver Alliance has been around for more than 40 years, offering comprehensive support, education, and a host of resources for caregivers nationwide. Their site features online support groups, access to e-newsletters, an FCA Learning Center clickable by state, and a feature they call FCA Caregiver Journey that’s designed to personalize your experience.
Based in our nation’s capitol, Caregiver Action Network offers free education, peer support, and resources to caregivers across the US. Their online community provides real-time support and connections with other caregivers, all anonymously, with opportunities for sharing stories and comparing best practices. CAN also issues a monthy e-newsletter and other helpful digital content.
The AARP’s hosts quite a comprehensive online caregiver community that features virtual forums, chat rooms, education resources, and the chance to share personal stories through their I Heart Caregivers page.