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 Impeachable Offenses?


Our local caregiver's support group has been in existence for 10 years.  The group varies from 8-14 people each week. We are all unpaid and caring for a family member.

Last month the current facilitator (with us about a year) unilaterally made some new rules, which we have not been allowed to discuss:

  1. The group from now on will be women only (essentially eliminating the three men who attend).
  2. If the person you care for dies, you must leave the group within  eight months (she said this was "the national standard".
  3. If you are caring for someone other than a family member (i.e. your deceased mother's best friend who is 92 with stage 4 cancer) you cannot attend our meetings.

Several people in our group have reported their displeasure to the local agency who is her employer, but all we have heard is that they will be "looking into it".

Any advice?



It seems as if you have taken the first step in talking to the sanctioning body of the group.  If you don’t receive satisfaction, then the three little words that every caregiver needs to know becomes your best option “Who’s your supervisor”.   I know that the local agency is her employer, but are they the “sanctioning body” of the group itself?

Second, Is this person facilitating as a part of her job role or an unpaid caregiver like the rest of the group?  Have any previous facilitators changed the rules unilaterally before?

Third, if the group is unhappy with this turn of events and cannot get it resolved, what system is in place to elect a new facilitator?

Of course, since she has taken on the role as facilitator, I have to assume that she is trying to do what she thinks is right for the group as a whole.  It is best to try and have a frank dialogue with her to understand why she thinks these rules are for the best for  the group, before taking any action.   After all, open and honest conversation is the essential benefit of a support group for all of its members.   

And if all else fails,  is there another local organization that can start a group for your members, (Alzheimer’s association, area agency on aging, hospital).

My advice for Terry is....


Gary Barg

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