Program Spotlight – Biggs Support Groups
Caring for a parent with dementia is difficult and a support system can help navigate each stage of caregiving.
This month our community partner Angela Torres highlights the importance of support groups.
Hello! My name is Angela Torres and I am the social worker for the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Along with seeing patients and families in our clinic, I also help co-facilitate support groups with our counselor, Melissa Flores.
The support group we would like to highlight began in the summer of 2020. This group is focused on gathering individuals who are all caring for a parent with dementia. In this virtual support group, our members have a comfortable space to share their unique experiences of what it is like to care for a parent with dementia, discuss how they address navigating challenging behaviors, planning for the future, all while providing peer support to one another.
Many of our group members fall in the Sandwich Generation, which refers to a group of young to middle-aged adults who are “sandwiched” between caring for their aging parents, while also raising their own children, and working full-time.
Our group members discuss their common experiences of Role Reversal in which traditional roles switch from being cared for to caregiving. Role Reversal can be difficult for both the parent needing care and the adult children providing the care.
Tips to help navigate this challenging change in relationship roles:
- Strive to involve your parent as much as possible in decision-making by laying out the options to choose from. You are much more likely to have buy-in when your parent plays a large role in shaping the solutions.
- Listen and validate at all times. Providing a space for parents to talk about their fears, concerns, feelings, and wishes are important to keeping communication open.
- Look for compromises and seek professional guidance and assistance when it is needed. Often a neutral third party such as a professional geriatric care manager, social worker, pastor, or counselor can provide peace, knowledge, and guidance needed to understand and proceed with new roles.
If you are interested in learning more and joining the Caring for a Parent with Dementia Support Group, please reach out to me or my co-facilitator, Melissa Flores.
To register or for more information, contact:
Angela Torres, LMSW
Melissa Flores, LPC