A Peer Support Group Developed by Finnish Members as a Getaway for Caregivers

written by Tuuliki Hakala

The Association of Carers in Helsinki and Vantaa provides support for caregivers in the capital area of Finland. Our purpose is that families in which caregiving is needed should receive adequate support and enough means to maintain a sustainable everyday life. The Association has had finance to offer information and counseling for caregivers on caregiving also in various languages since 2015.

The peer support is very important for caregivers; to hear that other people have the same kind of situations in their life, to get some new information and to learn from each other and to laugh and to cry together – and after that to continue the everyday life a little bit more light-hearted. A couple of years the Association has maintained a peer support group for the Arabic and Kurd speaking caregivers. It is easier to speak about the emotional issues and get the essential information about caregiving in own language. Many caregivers are so tied in the care situation that they do not have the capacity left to learn a new language properly.  With the help of a Kurd and Arabic speaking group counselor caregivers have got together in Friday afternoons.

I wondered about the time of the group, but the participants think that it gives a nice start for their weekend. It is a kind of breathing space. They like to dress up a bit and many times they bring something self-made treats for the group. At the end of every session, after discussions and maybe a guest speaker, most of the participants like to relieve their stress by dancing together. I think this dancing together is something that could be good for everyone. So, lots of dance for you all in the year 2020! Best wishes, Tuulikki Hakala.