These are just some of the many responses we received
from our Editorial of 08/07/08 -
Find another organization to sponsor your
caregiver support group, if that's possible.
This facilitator sounds very "heavy handed".
I have been a Hospice volunteer for 18 years and
act as an unpaid facilitator for a caregiver support
group, sponsored by the local Hospice organization.
There are two other unpaid Hospice volunteers
working with the group, as well. The group has been
meeting for five years. Caregivers are a special
breed of people and need all the help they can get.
Certainly, anything that is of concern to the
caregivers attending our meetings is open for
discussion. We have no limits on how long anyone
may attend the meetings, though there is a separate
grief recovery group available for those who have
lost their family member/friend/patient which the
caregiver may want to begin to attend in
time.........or not. Our experience has been that
after a patient dies, the caregiver is usually
occupied with many other things and moves on of
her/his own accord. We welcome all who have a
need, men and women alike. We do not limit the
caregiver experience to "family only". We
don't have a lot of rules; the main rule being
confidentiality. We do expect those attending the
meetings not to speak outside of the meetings of the
other members' situations and to treat other
members with respect and consideration. We also
"administer" strong doses of patience and caring.
This is a casual group. There are no demands
on attendance and members may come and go as they
choose. Attendance is on an "as you can"
basis. Caregivers are not always free to attend
every meeting......their lives are not always
predictable. This is understood and we do not
expect any notification from caregivers if they
cannot attend meetings. As a facilitator, because
our meeting time is limited, I do try to be sure
that each person has his/her own time to speak, but
feel that I am there mainly to guide.......it is the
caregivers who really help one another. Some
need to talk more than others on occasion and a new
member coming into the group is often given more
time to tell her/his story, by the other caregivers.
This relaxed approach seems to have worked for us.
Unilateral decisions are never good. It's
always better to open a dialogue with those
individuals who will be affected by new rules or
procedures so that they can feel that their issues
have been heard and that they were a part of the
Why are men to be excluded? It's difficult
enough to get men to seek help with their emotional
well-being, the last thing the facilitator would
want to do is shut them out. If these men
can't participate, then they may not seek out
another support group and may, instead, try to deal
with their serious and stressful caregiving issues
on their own. We all know that white males
have the highest suicide rate among elders, who
often experience feelings of isolation and
loneliness. Attending support groups is
sometimes the only respite a caregiver can manage!
Why are those who are taking care of
non-relatives to be excluded? Does the
facilitator view this category of caregiver to be
less involved in the elder's care? Whether
you’re taking care of a parent who lives 2 miles
down the road or taking care of your deceased
mother's best friend who lives next door, the issues
are basically the same. Three hours a day
taking care of your parent or three hours a day
taking care of your mother's best friends is still
three hours, no matter who it is.
As far as having someone leave the group eight
months after their spouse has passed away, I say
that the facilitator may have a point. I
disagree that this should be a steadfast rule,
though. The facilitator should be encouraging
the former caregiver in attending bereavement
support groups and to consider some short-term
counseling. The caregiver should also be
encouraged to call any of the other members to chat
or maybe even to volunteer their time assisting with
the care of their loved one. Remember, some of
these individuals were married for 40, 50 or 60
years and now find themselves alone.
Bereavement support groups and some short-term
counseling can help them in adjusting to their
independence and direct them to more appropriate
groups and volunteer opportunities. It may
take someone a few months and some more than a year…
we all grieve differently.
Whatever happens, everyone in the group should able
to discuss the issues and create other alternatives
that could provide a solution to the problems
that prompted the creation of these new rules.
I hope things work out well for you.
The unilateral decisions
outlined and implemented by the Facilitator are
understandable. A Caregiver Support group
is not a dating club (hence the single gender
criteria). A Caregiver Support Group is not
a Hospice Aide/Provider Support Group. A
Caregiver is a family member in most cases otherwise
the person providing care is called a Home Health
Aide or Personal Care Attendant.
An individual caring for someone who is terminally
ill would be better served by a Hospice Support
Group. Unless, they can limit their comments
to the caregiver aspects of their duties.
Their is the appropriate grief counseling after the
terminally ill passes on.
An individual caring for a non family member caring
for a stage 4 cancer patient, regardless of
relation, would be better served by a Cancer Family
Support Group or Hospice Support Group.
I would image that this group is Employer-tolerated,
not Employer-sponsored. In any case when a
support group has been around for more than a
few years, the initial focus of and for the group
becomes blurred; the mission and vision is lost.
Perhaps it would help the have mission statement
revisited or if there is no mission statement, now
is the time to consider one. A groups' modus
operandi may not be agreeable with all participants.
If a participant becomes too disenchanted they
should seek support elsewhere versus trying to
reinvent the wheels of an established group.
My first thought is how can
one eliminate a gender from a group.
When did women forget that they were not allowed in
the work place, even as
secretaries? Your female ancestors have fought
long and hard to have the
rights that they have now, in the workplace, voting,
Now you want to exclude a man that is suffering with
giving care to a loved
one? Come on, it is 2008!!!!!!!!!! I am
a Homosexual man that had a car
accident, and my male partner is suffering for my
lack of judgment. I was
not impaired, just made the wrong decision, the
deer, or the tree. Now I
live with his Traumatic Brain Injury every day.
If I were there, and you decided to exclude me
because of my gender, I would
make sure to make sure that this woman knew that
Susan B Anthony was
spinning in her grave.