A.K.A. Google is Your Friend
At Heartland Infusion, many of our clients seek our services for chronic conditions. From Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn’s disease to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the list of sudden onset and long-term medical conditions warranting infusion therapy is long and diverse.
Because of the nature of chronic illnesses, some of our clients find that attending a support group whose members suffer from the same or similar afflictions as their own helps improve their quality of life. Patients report that the right support group can have therapeutic benefits, provide useful information and can be a catalyst to making new friends.
Is a Support Group Right for Me?
Let’s answer this with a fictional example: Pretend that you suffer from sometimes debilitating arthritis and, although your infusion therapy is very helpful, you find areas of your life related to your condition that could use improvement. Perhaps your friends and family just don’t understand why you often can’t participate in activities, attend functions, or are forced to back out at the last minute. Without them suffering from the same condition—heaven forbid—there’s only so much they can understand about the nature of your pain.
Could meeting regularly with someone else with arthritis help? How about multiple people with the condition? How do they handle their social situations? What is their experience with their significant other, their children, their extended family? What about their take on the more logistical side of the condition? Who is a fellow member’s physician, for example? Do they like her or him? What medications do they take and what side effects do they experience? The point is there is a world of information out there that can be gleaned from your peers, and a great way to get it is by joining a support group.
But How Do You Find the Right One?
The easy answer is that Google is your friend. Begin by searching for support groups near your zip code for in-person meetings. You’ll likely dredge up larger county, state and national associations and related organizations as well, many of which will have links to resources on their website. All will, of course, have a phone number to follow-up for additional leads and information. If you wanted to know everything about that new automobile you’ve been thinking about purchasing, you likely would know how to research it online and find out who nearby sells them. Finding a local support group is the same premise. If you feel a little embarrassed reaching out for help or stigmatized because of your condition, start your inquiry with an email to a particular group. And remember, the folks you’re researching about are either just like you or employed to assist people just like you.
Physicians who specialize in your condition often have a list of resources to share; and if they’re your treating physician, all the better because of the relationship. Your doctor’s office may have brochures, flyers, or other reading materials that offer information on support groups.
Also, don’t rule out online support. In fact, for many people in all walks, Zoom, Skype and the like have become a regular part of personal and professional life since the pandemic took hold. If you’re familiar with meeting online, then you already know how convenient it can be. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, you might consider giving online support a try. There can be many advantages to meeting your peers in an online support group. There are also websites with bulletin boards where you can post questions. Many social media platforms—from Facebook to Reddit—also have groups in which participants meet virtually and exchange information and ideas or simply just socialize online with likeminded people.
The Not-So-Easy Part of the Equation
The less convenient part of the process is attending the group to really know if it’s a good fit, which sometimes requires multiple visits. Like any other similar endeavor—from finding the right place of worship or a school or university to joining a gym or even an adult softball team—you won’t know until you go. So, find a support group that looks promising and go!
If we can help you find an appropriate support group or facilitate the process in any way, please reach out to Heartland Infusion. We’re here to help.