For families with loved ones living in assisted living in the Three Palms Health Center at East Ridge, the support group known as “Family Circle” provides a huge comfort. The group meets monthly in the evening enabling working family members to be able to attend.

“Our families really enjoy this opportunity to get together with people who are in similar situations and share their experiences,” said Patricia Naraindutt, the lifestyle director for assisted living.

Research shows support groups can an outlet for:

Expressing Feelings

Initially, family members may be somewhat skeptical about attending but after participating, it gives them a sense of relief in being able to talk about their loved one and their situation.  Some adult children have profound sadness admitting their loved one was no longer capable of living at home nor could they be accommodated living with a family member.  According to Patricia, acknowledging that a parent’s life is now much better living in assisted living is a big hurdle. The support group helps participants express these feelings.

According to the Mayo Clinic, support groups bring people together who are going through similar experiences. In the case of the Family Circle, the common ground may be caregiving. A support group also provides an opportunity for people to share personal experiences and feelings, coping strategies, or firsthand information about diseases or treatments.

Filling Gaps

For many people, a health-related support group may fill a gap between medical treatment and the need for emotional support. A person’s relationship with a doctor or other medical personnel may not provide adequate emotional support, and a person’s family and friends may not understand the impact of a disease or treatment. A support group among people with shared experiences may function as a bridge between medical and emotional needs.

A support group geared to those with families in assisted living or a memory care community is similar but according to Patricia, the Family Circle is more informal and does not use a facilitator. Its purpose is to create an opportunity to be with people who are likely to understand one another.

“We create an environment where people can talk openly and honestly about their feelings,” she said.  “Participating helps families feel less lonely, isolated or judged. They derived a sense of control and hope.  They related to each other because of the commonality.”

Patricia started Family Circle a year ago after realizing families wanted to meet others in a similar situation.

“Family members build such incredible bonds,” she said. “Even when someone may no longer have a loved one living at the community, they continue to come for support.”

To learn more about assisted living at The Three Palms Health Center and come for a tour, please call 305-256-3564.

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