What Types of Online Support Groups Could You Find?
Many times you might need support for yourself as a caregiver, but it’s difficult to find exactly what you need. Rather than spending a lot of time and energy hunting down in-person support groups, you might want to try online support groups. Here are a few types to consider.
Forums and Message Boards.
Forums and message boards are really easy to use and they work almost like a cork message board might. Members make a post and then other members reply to the post underneath, creating a thread. This is a way that you can post a question or describe your situation at a time that is convenient for you and then other people will reply when it’s convenient for them to do so.
Chat rooms are more of a “live” experience. This usually involves logging into a group chat area that becomes a running conversation among all of the users who are logged in and chatting at that time. Some support groups might maintain an archive of past chats that members can access later. Many support groups “meet” at a set time in chat rooms. This is a great way to get live support when you need it.
Email Lists and Newsgroups.
Newsgroups and email lists usually involve members signing up to access a particular list. Then, as someone sends an email to the main list, all of the subscribers to the list are able to see that email as a post. These can get overwhelming quickly on a busy list, so it’s often a good idea to sign up for the digest version that sends one longer email with all of the messages that have been sent to the list.
In-person Groups May Have an Online Presence.
Sometimes in-person support groups in your area also have an online presence. This might be through their own website or through a national group’s site. This can be a really great way to get to know a group before attending meetings in person. It’s also a way that you can get support if you’re not able to get to those in-person meetings but still want to connect with that particular group.
Online support groups give you an opportunity to get support whenever you need it, day or night. They can also help you to reach out when you’re still not comfortable attending an in-person meeting just yet. As with in-person meetings, each online support group has its own feel so you might need to try a few groups to find the right fit for you.