Caregiver Saathi support group meeting ‘Heal Thy Self’ – is a space to meet, share, learn, support, heal and discover well-being.
We had the latest session on Saturday, 18th January 2020. This session focused on “The Joys and Challenges of Caregiver’s life”. Participants who joined us for this session were caregivers of people suffering from incurable, chronic, pathological mental health and Neurological conditions besides others.
An introduction and briefing about the purpose of the meeting – to create a safe and non-judgemental space was made. The challenge mainly faced by the participants was about not being able to socialize in their life as they feel it is not safe to leave the patients alone.
One of the participant shared, how while interacting with family friends a huge list of unwelcome, insensitive and pedantic advice and suggestions are imposed on the caregivers. This is frustrating while also increasing the feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Another participant accepted that she had reached her burnout point & chooses to opt-out from caregiving. She received helpful suggestions for the same. More importantly, she received the warmth & support needed to make the right decisions for herself. She also shared the social judgements and stereotypes faced by her and many others could relate to the same situation.
Facilitation and reminders helped ensure that everyone focused on themselves as caregivers and their dilemmas and not get distracted by the situation of their loved ones. One of the support group members, also shared how an uninvited responsibility of Caregiving to an elderly relative fell into her lap while she was already a primary caregiver to her mother.
By the end of the session, we realized how important it is to take out time for ourselves, even if it begins with being as short as 15 minutes a week. May it be a walk with friends, or just listening to music or sketching. We agreed that this will create a better version of us for ourselves as well as for the care receiver.
We also discussed the importance of support group meetings and how it adds a ray of hope and the knowledge that we are not alone in this journey. Participants also shared their experiences, knowledge and resources with each other to help those who were struggling with specific aspects.
We wound up with acknowledging each other while in a ‘healing circle’. The meeting concluded with participants expressing gratitude to each other.