FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /
caregiver's support group has been in existence
for 10 years. The group varies from 8-14
people each week. We are all unpaid and caring
for a family member.
Last month the
current facilitator (with us about a year)
unilaterally made some new rules, which we have
not been allowed to discuss:
group from now on will be women only
(essentially eliminating the three men who
- If the person you care for
dies, you must leave the group within
eight months (she said this was "the national
- If you are caring for
someone other than a family member (i.e. your
deceased mother's best friend who is 92 with
stage 4 cancer) you cannot attend our meetings.
Several people in our group have
reported their displeasure to the local agency
who is her employer, but all we have heard is
that they will be "looking into it".
It seems as if you have
taken the first step in talking to the sanctioning
body of the group. If you don’t receive
satisfaction, then the three little words that every
caregiver needs to know becomes your best option
“Who’s your supervisor”. I know that the local
agency is her employer, but are they the
“sanctioning body” of the group itself?
Second, Is this person facilitating as a part of her
job role or an unpaid caregiver like the rest of the
group? Have any previous facilitators changed
the rules unilaterally before?
Third, if the
group is unhappy with this turn of events and cannot
get it resolved, what system is in place to elect a
Of course, since she
has taken on the role as facilitator, I have to
assume that she is trying to do what she thinks is
right for the group as a whole. It is best to
try and have a frank dialogue with her to understand
why she thinks these rules are for the best for the
group, before taking any action. After all,
open and honest conversation is the essential
benefit of a support group for all of its members.
And if all else fails, is there
another local organization that can start a group
for your members, (Alzheimer’s association, area
agency on aging, hospital).
My advice for Terry is....