Frequently people require more assistance as they age. According to the US Census Bureau, 95 percent of individuals 65 and older do not reside in nursing homes, they reside at home (6). In Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura counties, there are currently around 30,000 caregivers of older adults in the Nikkei community. The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro (IHA) estimates that the number of Nikkei between the ages of 65 and 89 in this tri-county area will increase by 30 percent between 2000 and 2030, therefore, the number of Nikkei caregivers is likely to grow (1). The Family Caregiver Alliance notes that 65 percent of those in need of care rely on informal caregivers (7).
Oftentimes, these caregivers have full time jobs and their own families to care for. Therefore, in balancing several time consuming and often stressful duties at the same time, the well being of a caregiver is often at risk (3). Given the rising number of caregivers in the Japanese American community and the health consequences associated with caregiving, it is important for Japanese American caregivers to seek out assistance. One way in which caregivers can find such assistance is through caregiver support groups. These can play a great role in preventing the potential health consequences associated with caregiving.
How does caregiving affect me?
Caregiving can cause emotional and physical stress. One of the main consequences of caregiving is that it tends to increases the number of health problems experienced by individuals. For example, a 2002 press release by the American Journal of Public Health stated that female caregivers have six times the likelihood of suffering from depression and anxiety than non-caregivers (4). Additionally, fatigue is common among caregivers. These symptoms might affect your ability to carry out your non-caregiving duties.
What is a caregiver support group?
A support group is usually composed of individuals who have a shared experience. These individuals often talk about their experiences, exchange personal stories, and form support networks. Support groups are commonly led by individuals who have the same experience or by professionals in the health field.
What are the benefits of a caregiver support group?
Support groups have a number of benefits. They can provide an opportunity where caregivers can talk and interact with other caregivers. In addition, caregivers have the opportunity to form new friendships and networks, while gaining knowledge about resources in their local community from their peers (5).
What types of support groups exist for caregivers?
In-person support groups and telephone support groups have been around for a long time and are available for caregivers. With recent technology, web-based groups have become increasingly popular. While online support groups can provide peer support, the usefulness of virtual communities is still being looked at to determine if they are as helpful as in-person support groups (2). Thus, if caregivers have the time and access to in-person groups they should use these over other options.
What caregiver support groups are available in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties?
To view lists of caregiver support groups available in the three counties, please click on the links below:
Where can I get more information about a caregiver support group?
The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro
325 S. Boyle Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Family Caregiver Alliance
180 Montgomery St. Suite 1100
San Francisco, CA 94104
3350 Griffin Rd.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312
Los Angeles Caregivers Resource Center (LACRC)
3715 McClintock Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0191
(800) 540-4442 (CA only)
- “Caregiving in the U.S.: A Focused Look at Those Caring for Someone Age 50 or Older: Executive Summary.” (2009). National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/caregiving_09.pdf.
- Eysenbach, G., Englesakis, M. & Stern, A. (2004). Health related virtual communities and electronic support groups: systematic review of the effects of online peer to peer interactions. BMJ, 328.http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/328/7449/1166.
- Gallant, M. P., & Connell, C. M. (1998). The stress process among dementia spouse caregivers: Are caregivers at risk for negative health behavior change? Research on Aging, 20(3), 267–297.
- “Reverberations of family illness: A longitudinal assessment of informal caregiving and mental health status in the nurses’ health study.” Press Release (2002, August). American Journal of Public Health.
- “Support Groups.” Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center.http://lacrc.usc.edu/ShowPage.php?PageID=6
- “The 65 Years and Over Population: 2000 Census Brief.” (2001). US Census Bureau.http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-10.pdf
- “Women and Caregiving: Facts and Figures.” Family Caregiver Alliance- National Center on Caregiving.http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=892