13 Benefits Of Going To A Support Group!

February 06, 2018

What is a support group? Have you ever wondered what the purpose of a support group is?

Support Definition - 

To bear or to hold up.

To bear the weight of especially from below; keep from falling, sinking, or slipping.

Group Definition - 

A number of people or things that are located close together or considered or classed together.

A support group from those definitions mean that it is a group of many people who come together to help you keep from falling & they help hold/lift you up.

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I remember going to my first Frontotemporal Dementia Support Group ever. We were about a  year or two in from having FTD affect our lives. We were still new to FTD and learning new things about FTD every day. "Learning while we go",  seemed to be our motto at the time.

I went with my brother, Jon and my husband, Paul. It reminded me of starting my first day of school. We walked in as strangers, not knowing anyone. We were immediately embraced. We wrote our names on paper place cards and sat down with our names in front of us. It was official. We were the newest members of the group. We were given binders with information on FTD in them. Jon and Paul were sitting on each side of me as my support system.

We sat around tables that were set up in a square shape, and so we were all facing each other. I have never been around the most empathetic people in my life, until that moment. They were all looking at me with sadness, empathy, and as if they knew my situation. They even looked at me as if they knew what was going to come next for me. Many of these people had been through what I had been through, and were further down the FTD path than I was at or their FTD journey had already finished. They knew what would be coming up for me next, when I had no idea what was to come next. The only difference our stories seemed to have is that many were caring for their spouse with FTD, as we were caring for our mom with FTD.

Somehow it was my turn to speak or I guess I should say "cry." Everyone was staring at me. I can't remember what I said. I can only remember the tears. Tears started streaming down my face. This was the first time that I felt that everyone in the room had probably felt the way that I felt at that moment. I cried because I missed my mom. I cried because I needed to. I cried because I had raw and new feelings. It was simply okay to cry. I needed to get those emotions out. There was even a sweet lady who got up and brought me tissues for my tears. That is what a support group is all about. I was being supported.

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I learned that support groups are amazing.

◦  They are free.

◦  They are where you can go to get support from others, when you have no idea where else to get support from.

◦  You can vent.

◦  You have others to listen to you.

◦  You can cry.

◦  You can probably scream too, if you felt like you needed to.

◦  You can get a hug.

◦  You can feel not so alone.

◦  You can have instant connections.

◦  You can hear similar stories.

◦  You can ask questions and get answers or suggestions.

You can learn from others that are in, or have been in, a similar situations as you.

◦  You can learn in the world of FTD, you aren't actually going crazy after all, or maybe you are, after all it is FTD.

What should you take to a support group?

A notebook to jot down notes

A pen or pencil

Write down questions you want to ask prior to arriving to the support group. This will help you remember what you might want to say during the support group.

Kleenex (just in case)

How should I dress?

There is no need to dress to impress at support groups. If it makes you feel good to dress to impress, than do it! I guarantee you can dress any way you want (as long as it is appropriate in public), even if you just got out of bed. The support group wants you there, so they can be a support to you.

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No one should ever go through FTD alone!

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I would highly recommend going to a support group near you, if you can. Get on a support group e-mail list. Join support groups online, if you can't make it to a support group in person. It was so educational for me to know that I wasn't going through this all alone. There were others who were going through the same exact thing as me, just in a different way, because all stories are different.

Click on the top of my blog where it says "FTD Support Groups" to find the nearest support group where you live.

For locals in the Salt Lake City area, there are two support groups. One in the AM and one in the PM.

AM Support Group

Sandy Senior Center
9310 South, 1300 East
Sandy, UT

2nd Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Many "Thank you's" to Bonnie for all she does to help others out!

Bonnie Shepherd

PM Support Group

Bingham Creek Library
4834 West 9000 South
West Jordan, UT 84081

2nd Wednesday of the month from 6 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

Many "Thank you's" to Jamie for all she does to help others out!

Jamie Gordon

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  1. Oh I love this. I don't think I have ever been to a support group. Have I?! Now the question is why haven't I? I think you are right though, we learn so much more with support of others.

  2. A very touching article - I have been to several different support groups for issues with my family and they are indeed, lifesavers! Thank you for sharing this!

  3. I am so glad you have shared this post! Support groups are so important for caregivers, and it can be intimidating to go at first. By sharing your experience you will be helping so many people. It's a hard journey that you are in the midst of, but by sharing it you will help so many others!

  4. Finding people who have gone through similar circumstances can be very affirming. They understand our situation in a way that no one else can,

  5. I never thought of support groups in so many positive ways! But I love it! I'm so glad that you found a great network of support for your FTD journey! I'll wager that any support group for any kind of need would be a great way to stay connected and get answers!


Thank you so much for your comment! :)

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