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Make Connections, Get Help

By Renee Hansen, Senior Services Editor.

If you’re facing a major illness or stressful life change, you don’t have to go it alone. A support group can help.

Support groups bring together people facing similar issues, whether it is an illness or you’re helping a loved one, or you’re experiencing major life changes. Members of support groups often share experiences and advice.

While not everyone wants or needs support beyond that offered by family and friends, you may find it helpful to turn to others outside your immediate circle. A support group can help you cope better and feel less isolated as you make connections with others facing similar challenges. A support group shouldn’t replace your standard medical care or advice, but it can be a valuable resource to help you cope.

Members of a support group typically share their personal experiences and offer one another emotional comfort and moral support. They may also offer practical advice and tips to help you cope with your situation. Benefits of participating in support groups may include:

  • Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged
  • Gaining a sense of empowerment and control
  • Improving your coping skills and sense of adjustment
  • Talking openly and honestly about your feelings
  • Reducing distress, depression or anxiety
  • Developing a clearer understanding of what to expect with your situation
  • Getting practical advice or information about treatment options
  • Comparing notes about resources, such as doctors and alternative options

Senior Services offers a support group, called The Group for those who need a place to talk about life’s challenges. They also offer a Caregiver Support Group for those who are caring for a loved one. For more information about these groups call 989-633-3700.

Support groups in Midland County that may be especially helpful for older adults include MidMichigan Health’s Cancer Support Groups, Diabetes Support Group, Grief and Loss Support Group, Breathing Easy Support Group and Parkinson’s Support Group. Call MidMichigan Health at 989-837-9090 for more information about these groups.