Caregiving often causes stress, which can result in increased health problems, disrupted social relationships, burnout, depression and decreased quality of care for their loved one. Too often caregivers don’t recognize their own needs or simply don’t know where to turn for help. It is essential for caregivers to seek the support of family, friends and community resources. Learning to ask for help is an essential part of being a good caregiver. One way to get help is to form your own Support Team. By providing organized assistance, Support Teams ease caregiver stress.
A Support Team is a group of people organized to provide practical, emotional, and spiritual support to caregivers. Much of the support is provided in the caregiver’s home. The idea is to ask people to do what they can, when they can, in a coordinated way to meet the needs of the caregiver. The four components of this team are the caregiver, a team of friends or volunteers, family, and a team leader. The concept of the Support Team is based on Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health (REACH) II, which was funded to design and test a single multi-component intervention among family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. The overall objectives of REACH II were to 1) identify and reduce modifiable risk factors among diverse family caregivers of patients with ADRD, 2) enhance the quality of care of the care recipients, and 3) enhance the well-being of the caregivers. The REACH II intervention sought to increase caregiver knowledge, skills, and well-being while enhancing support to the caregiver.