By Angela Stringfellow on Sep 27, 2019 11:43:40 AM
Over 40 million people across the U.S. are providing unpaid assistance to aging parents, chronically ill spouses, and other loved ones. Despite growing accessibility of professional healthcare services, family caregivers are the driving force when it comes to supporting aging Americans.
A survey from Caring.com found nearly 40% of family caregivers commit to a schedule involving more than 30 hours per week, nearly the equivalent of a full-time job. This leaves very little time to address personal well-being.
Local support groups are an excellent way to address personal well-being, avoid caregiver fatigue and burnout, and can even help combat the feelings of isolation that many caregivers face. By connecting with others who intimately understand your situation, you can better navigate the emotional and physical stresses that come with serving as a primary caregiver to an aging or disabled loved one.
If you or a loved one lives in Louisiana, we’ve compiled the below list of caregiving support groups across the state to help you navigate your caregiving journey.
Family Caregiver Support Groups
Various dates and times
Shreveport, Alexandria, Lafayette, Houma, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Covington, LA
This chapter of the ALS Association hosts support groups in various cities across the state. It’s an opportunity to connect with others also affected by this neurodegenerative disorder. Family members, caregivers, and friends are all welcome to attend.
2nd Tuesday of each month, 2:00 pm
Bossier City, LA
Open to caregivers and survivors of stroke, this bi-weekly support group meets at the Wills Knighton Medical Center. Members can expect a guest speaker, such as a doctor or physical therapist, who can provide insight on recovering from stroke. All sessions include open discussion, and refreshments.
3rd Friday of each month, 12:00-1:00 pm
Baton Rouge, LA
This group was specially created to address the caregiving needs of amputees. Those supporting loved ones with limb loss often face a unique set of challenges. From practical tips to intimacy advice, amputee caregivers can explore a wide range of issues here.
Every Thursday from 12:00 pm
Held weekly at the Christus Highland Medical Center, this long-running support group is open to all cancer patients as well as their caregivers. Trained volunteers help members gain new insights into the impact of cancer and will offer ideas on how to cope. Although guest speakers do drop in, each session is also open to group discussion.
- Lagniappe Hospital - Stroke Caregivers Support Group
Various dates and times
This group is aimed at providing support and resources to stroke patients and their caregivers. In this free, private space, members can connect with one another by sharing their stories and advice. Facilitators will also provide practical tips on how to help a loved one navigate daily tasks following a stroke.
4th Wednesday of each month, 1:00 pm
This long-running support group is aimed at providing education for those tending to a loved one with Parkinson’s disease. Although attendees will have the opportunity to connect with other caregivers, the focus is on learning what this neurodegenerative disorder entails and how to navigate its symptoms.
12-week course, various dates throughout the year
New Orleans, LA
This 12-week course is a free program for caregivers of individuals with severe mental illness. Taught by trained family members, it takes an in-depth look at schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder and OCD. Participants will learn strategies for handling crises, and ways to cope with everyday caregiving challenges. For registration info, contact NAMI’s Louisiana chapter.
2nd Thursday of every other month
New Orleans, LA
The New Orleans Council on Aging hosts a long-running support group that meets twice a month. The sessions are especially beneficial for those taking care of an elderly parent. The group offers resources to help members cope with the demands of caregiving while juggling their own marriage, children, and careers.
- Northwest Louisiana Scleroderma Support Group
2nd Saturday of each month, 1:30 pm
This support group specially caters to caregivers of scleroderma patients. Louisiana’s Caddo Council on Aging provides session information. Members meet at the Bossier Library in Shreveport. Guest speakers are often invited to share their insight.
Every Monday, 5:30 pm
Physical activity is not only beneficial for cancer patients, but caregivers too. Slidell Memorial Hospital takes a unique approach by incorporating yoga into support group. Promote mindfulness and connect with other caregivers by taking part in this weekly yoga class. Although this is a free support group, registration is still required.
4th Wednesday of each month
This support program is available to help caregivers in Chalmette cope with their responsibilities. This monthly group offers self-help strategies, informal counseling, and an opportunity to form friendships with other like-minded caregivers. Light refreshments are provided.
First and third Fridays of each month
Abita Springs, LA
This women-only support group helps caregivers navigate the stress and emotional toll of tending to a loved one. The goal is to empower women by letting them know help is available at all times. Each meeting includes group discussions with a focus on self-care.
Alzheimer's Support Groups
Last Tuesday of each month
Hosted in a rural hospital setting, Abbeville General runs a monthly Alzheimer’s support group for caregivers. These sessions are ideal for those seeking an intimate gathering with others facing the same challenges.
Various dates and times
The local Louisiana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association offers in-person support groups for caregivers navigating this particular disease. Each session is led by trained individuals, and many locations offer specialized groups for caregivers addressing special challenges. Simply enter your zip code into the search tool to find a support group near you.
- Alzheimer's Caregivers Support Group - The Power Center
4th Monday of each month, 11:00 am
This group provides a casual setting for caregivers tending to loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. Participants not only receive educational resources, but also take part in a group discussion with fellow caregivers. Lunch is provided by Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital.
Last Tuesday of each month, 5:30 pm
Lake Charles, LA
This monthly support group is held in the Activity Room of the Brookdale senior living center. Caregivers are invited to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. You’ll gain helpful tips on tending to a loved one with memory loss and hear stories from guest speakers, too.
2nd and 4th Monday of each month, 2:00 pm
Calvary Baptist Church offers a daytime support group for anyone caring for a person who has dementia. All sessions are facilitated by a trained professional with an emphasis on compassionate care.
1st and 3rd Mondays of each month
First Baptist Church Covington hosts a spiritual and emotional support group for caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Due to its popularity, not all caregivers may attend each group. Contact the church to ensure space is available beforehand.
1st Thursday of each month, 5:30-6:30 pm
The Glen is a retirement residence for seniors in Shreveport. It runs an in-person support group for caregivers dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Sessions focus on understanding memory loss and long-term coping strategies.
Every Saturday, 11:00 am
New Orleans, LA
Ochsner is one of Louisiana’s largest health networks. It offers extensive resources for caregivers tending to relatives with dementia. The center’s bi-weekly support group is popular among locals in New Orleans. Each session focuses on reducing caregiver stress, and the steps family members can take to effectively support a person with dementia.
Last Thursday of each month
New Orleans, LA
This monthly support group is for caregivers taking care of those with dementia. Members will enjoy the picturesque setting of St. Francis Villa – an assisted living residence surrounded by lush greenery. Sessions are a chance for participants to form friendships with other caregivers and exchange the most current information on Alzheimer’s.
2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month, 12:00 pm
New Orleans, LA
Hosted by one of the oldest synagogues in the United States, this Alzheimer’s support group is open to everyone – even if you’re not of the Jewish faith. Each bi-weekly meeting is a chance to socialize with other caregivers and receive valuable information on coping with this challenging disease.
2nd Saturday of each month
New Orleans, LA
Vista Shores is one of Louisiana’s most reputable retirement residences, catering to seniors with Alzheimer’s. The facility’s Memory Care Director facilitates a caregiver support group that offers guidance to those touched by dementia. Learn how to care for a loved one while ensuring your needs are met, too.
Online/Virtual Support Groups
The AARP offers a place for family caregivers to connect online. From personal stories to legal advice, this comprehensive resource offers a wealth of information on caring for a loved one. Packed with helpful guides and educational tools, the AARP addresses a number of issues facing caregivers today.
AgingCare hosts a popular forum where caregivers can discuss a variety of topics, including disability support payments, home accessibility, and family relationships. Members can easily filter discussions by date, recent activity, or popularity.
Create a profile on Caregiving.com to connect with fellow caregivers in a variety of chat rooms. Members can take part in random discussions throughout the day or participate in one of the daily pre-scheduled chats. The chat portal is accessed through a pop-out tab on the organization’s website. You also have the option to add ‘friends.’
Caring.com offers a comprehensive resource center for caregivers from all walks of life. Articles are sorted into helpful topics, including Medicare benefits, senior driving, and estate planning.
Eldercare Locator offers a designated space on its website for caregivers of aging parents. The section includes useful links, plus answers to many commonly-asked questions. It also contains a search tool, so you can locate in-person help within your community.
Connect with fellow caregivers by adding yourself to this email-based discussion group. When you send emails (or ‘posts’) to this list, your message is then forwarded to the entire group. Emails can include caregiver questions, personal stories or links to helpful articles. You can choose to receive messages immediately or grouped together as a compilation of the day’s posts.
Family Caregiver Alliance runs a separate email-based discussion group that caters to the LGBT community. It is a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender caregivers to share the challenges of tending to a loved one with chronic illness.
With more than 20,000 members and growing, Memory People is one of the largest Facebook groups dedicated to helping caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. This private forum is a place where all those affected by dementia can share information and seek understanding. Members are encouraged to talk about the realities of caring for someone with memory loss and spread awareness to fellow caregivers.
This Facebook page offers a friendly community where you can share your experiences on caregiving, aging and other similar topics. The page is run by Home Instead, which provides home care services for seniors across the United States.
Filled with helpful articles and inspirational stories, The Caregiver Space offers online support through their website and Facebook groups. Both family and professional caregivers are welcome. Although most members typically care for aging parents, the network is still useful if you’re tending to an adult sibling or even a child.
Well Spouse is a non-profit member organization that offers virtual support to spouses and partners of persons with chronic illness. The association hosts a comprehensive website with resources on coping and survival skills. Well Spouse also organizes ‘respite weekends’ where caregivers can come together for a few days of relaxation and networking.
This website is specially designed for women with careers who are also balancing the demands of caregiving. Founder Liz O’Donnell also hosts a Facebook group with more than 2,000 members. This online forum is particularly unique in that it understands the challenges of today’s working woman.
Caregiver Nation is an online Facebook community with over 3,000 members. Created by Seniorlink, Caregiver Nation provides caregivers from across the nation with a safe space to share stories and ideas, vent, and learn. The community is a great place to make a new friend, and to grow as a caregiver.