The Importance of Caregiver Support Groups

August 17, 2022 12:00 CT

Attending a support group isn’t a sign of weakness; rather the opposite. Support groups are a great option for caregivers to connect, share stories, and learn new ways to deal with the challenges of their role. In this #CaregiverChat, Dr. Lakelyn Hogan Eichenberger, gerontologist and caregiving advocate for Home Instead, talks with HFC’s Senior Director of Program Development & Strategy Alexandra Villano, support group leader Jane Wolf Frances and support group member Rayna Katz. You won’t want to miss this chat as the experts reflect on the important benefits these caregiver support groups provide.

During this chat you will learn about:

  • How meaningful connections are formed among group members
  • The importance of group input when faced with caregiving challenges
  • What support resources are available
  • Tips for finding a support group that fits their needs

We will take live questions during the chat, or feel free to send them in ahead of time to [email protected].

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Alex Villano
With more than twenty years of experience in the non-profit sector, Alex has served in several capacities as a principal contributor to strategic planning, organizational planning, and governing decisions as well as been directly responsible for implementing programmatic change in various roles throughout her career. Alex holds a Master’s from NYU’s Gallatin School where she studied the interdisciplinary design of social service programs.

Jane Wolf Frances
Family love expert, coach, advocate and author, Jane Wolf Frances, M.S.W., J.D., is a licensed psychotherapist, attorney and the founder of the ParentingOurParents™ (POP) community and its unique POP Family Coaching Program that helps families with aging seniors successfully navigate the many confusing and complex practical, emotional, financial, legal and other challenges. Her memoir/self-help book, “Parenting Our Parents: Transforming the Challenges into a Journey of Love” has helped so many to find their way to that love.

Rayna Katz
Rayna provided part-time care for her mother, who has dementia and insisted on remaining at home, for several years. When her mother really began to decline in 2020, and started having hallucinations and delusions, Rayna began exploring support groups and joined one with HFC, as well as some others. Her mother has now been in assisted living for several months but is frequently agitated and depressed so Rayna relies on support groups to establish boundaries, and improve communication, with her mom.

Is Hearing Loss the Culprit?

Live chat with expert: Shari Eberts

Many people think that hearing loss is a natural part of aging. They may also confuse it for something else, such as dementia. While a slight decline in hearing is normal in advanced age, hearing loss severe enough to impact daily life, needs medical attention. Join Dr. Lakelyn Hogan Eichenberger, Gerontologist and Caregiving Advocate for Home Instead as she discusses with hearing health advocate, author and speaker Shari Eberts. They will discuss the important warning signs of hearing loss and tips to help maintain independence and quality of life with impaired hearing.

During this chat you will learn about:

  • Warning signs of hearing loss
  • Tips to help maintain independence and enhance quality of life with hearing loss
  • Techniques to enhance communication with someone living with hearing loss
  • How caregivers can support their loved one with hearing loss

Watch the video

Why Getting a Dementia Diagnosis is Important

Live chat with expert: Lori La Bey

Are you seeing changes in you or your loved one’s cognition? Have you contemplated bringing it up to a healthcare provider or discussing your concerns with your loved one? While the thought of getting a dementia diagnosis may be overwhelming, there can be many benefits. Join Dr. Lakelyn Hogan Eichenberger as she talks with dementia care expert and Alzheimer’s Speaks founder Lori La Bey about the diagnosis journey and what families can expect. 

During this chat you will learn: 

  • A brief overview of dementia and the signs and symptoms 
  • Tips for bringing up concerns about a loved one’s cognition
  • Reasons to talk to a healthcare provider and get a diagnosis 
  • Resources to support individuals and families navigate dementia 


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Balancing Work and Caregiving

Live chat with expert: Liz O’Donnell

Of the 53 million family caregivers in the U.S., 61% work. Balancing both work and caregiving duties is challenging. Many of these caregivers are considered the sandwich generation that is caring for aging parents and children at the same time. Home Instead gerontologist and caregiving advocate Dr. Lakelyn Eichenberger will be joined by author and founder of Working Daughter Liz O’Donnell to discuss tips to help working family caregivers find support and balance. 

During this chat you will learn: 

  • Challenges working family caregivers face  
  • How to cope with the various demands on a caregiver’s time
  • Tips to find work, life and caregiving balance  
  • Resources to support working family caregivers 

Watch the video

The Legal Aspects of Estate Planning

Live chat with expert: Jerold Rothkoff

Did you know that more than 60% of American adults have not created a legally-binded estate plan? Or that a proper plan entails 5 critical components? Join Jerold E. Rothkoff, an elder law attorney and care advocate, to learn more about the ins and outs of an estate plan and why it’s so important to help your loved one line up their asset designations sooner than later. 

Dr. Lakelyn Hogan Eichenberger, Home Instead Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate will talk with attorney Jerold Rothkoff about:  

  • The 5 components that make up an estate plan 
  • Why estate planning is critical and when to get started 
  • Where to turn when drafting documents like wills, trusts and power of attorney
  • Understanding the legal aspects of various care types  
  • How an elder law attorney assists families

Watch the video

How Family & Professional Caregivers Work Together

Live chat with expert: Jenny Munro and Bill Glover

Caring for an aging loved one can take a village of family, professionals, friends and neighbors, each with individual strengths that positively impact the care provided. Adding a professional caregiver to your loved one’s care plan benefits all involved – especially the family caregiver. Join Jenny Munro, a family caregiver who cared for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease, and Bill Glover, a professional caregiver at Home Instead, to hear both caregiver perspectives and the perks of working well together.  

Join Dr. Lakelyn Hogan Eichenberger, Home Instead Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate, as she talks with Jenny and Bill, to learn more about:  

  • The thought process for families deciding whether or not to use home care 
  • How a professional caregiver approaches starting care with a new family 
  • How the two caregiver roles complement and support one another 
  • Keys to a successful caregiving partnership  

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Prioritizing Brain Health as a Caregiver

Live chat with expert: Lynn Posluns

Brain health disorders, like dementia, disproportionately affect women. In fact, approximately 70% of those living with Alzheimer’s are women. Caregiving duties also fall on the shoulders of more women (61%) than men (39%).  Join to learn simple tips to help caregivers stop putting their own brain health (and health) on the back burner. Lynn Posluns, founder and president of Women’s Brain Health Initiative, will talk with Dr. Lakelyn Hogan Eichenberger, Home Instead Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate, about how caregivers can begin to prioritize their own brain health. 

Join to learn more about:  

  • Why women are disproportionately impacted by brain disorders 
  • The importance of brain health for caregivers 
  • Simple tips to incorporate healthy living into daily life


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Renewing the Commitment to Care

Live chat with expert: Jennifer Fitzpatrick

The start of the new year means a fresh start for many. For caregivers, it can be helpful to reflect on your caregiving journey and reassess your role. You may realize that you need extra support. You could also use this time of reflection to determine if you need to make adjustments, find resources, or reprioritize certain activities. Jennifer FitzPatrick, author and speaker, will talk with Dr. Lakelyn Hogan, Home Instead Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate, about ways you can renew your commitment to care for your loved one.

Join to learn more about:  

  • Reframing theway you look at caregiving
  • Evaluating how caregiving is going and how you can be empowered to care
  • Determining if adjustments need to be made in your caregiving journey
  • Finding resources to support you as a caregiver 

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Keeping Your Identity as a Caregiver

Live chat with expert: Jacquelyn Revere

It can be easy for family caregiving duties to become all that a caregiver has time for, making caregiving feel all-consuming. Little by little, caregivers may feel their own identity slipping away. This month Jacquelyn Revere, who cares for her mother living with Alzheimer’s disease, will talk with Dr. Lakelyn Hogan, Home Instead’s Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate, about these struggles. The two will candidly discuss how the caregiving journey can shape a family caregiver’s “new normal” and why it’s so important to not lose your own identity and passions along the way.

Join to learn more about:

  • What it means to be a caregiver
  • The challenges of being a younger caregiver
  • How to balance caregiving and personal needs
  • Ways to maintain your own identity

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Understanding Parkinson’s Disease

Live chat with expert: Gail Gitin

There is a growing number of cases of Parkinson’s Disease (PD).  With the progression of PD, care and support is typically needed at home. It’s critical for care partners to understand symptoms and how care needs will evolve to best support their loved one. Join Dr. Lakelyn Hogan, Home Instead’s Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate, as she talks with Gail Gitin, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation, to learn more about:

  • Parkinson’s disease and related symptoms
  • Common challenges of living with PD
  • How to live well and remain independent with PD
  • Caregiving tips, resources, and support services

The Davis Phinney Foundation was founded by Olympic cyclist Davis Phinney in 2004 to help people with Parkinson’s live well today. The organization’s focus is to provide programs, early-stage research, and resources that offer inspiration, information and tools that enable people living with Parkinson’s to take action that can immediately improve their quality of life.

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The Ins and Outs of Dementia Home Care

Live chat with expert: Ian Kremer and Bonnie Wattles

The subject of home care or respite care can elicit a lot of questions: How does it work? What does it cost? What are the benefits? Layer on an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis and the questions can feel more challenging. Are caregivers properly trained to care for someone living with dementia? Can a caregiver provide the level of care that I can? Does a chronic condition make care more costly?

These are heavy questions and many family caregivers may feel overwhelmed trying to get all the answers. Join Dr. Lakelyn Hogan, Home Instead gerontologist and aging advocate for a panel discussion to help caregivers better understand the ins and outs of dementia home care.

Dr. Hogan will be joined by two dedicated Alzheimer’s advocates: Ian Kremer, Executive Director of LEAD Coalition and Bonnie Wattles, Executive Director of HFC. Join to learn more about:

  • The benefits that home care and respite can provide the individual and family
  • Important considerations in hiring a home care company
  • Grants and other resources that can help cover the costs of care and support the caregiver

Watch the video