Navi Mumbai NGO unveils support group for caregivers

Group to offer free yoga sessions, medical counselling and fun activities to help caregivers cope with stress

Published - June 06, 2017 12:40 am IST

Finding a connection: The support group aims to help caregivers share and learn from each other’s experiences.

Finding a connection: The support group aims to help caregivers share and learn from each other’s experiences.

Navi Mumbai: Navi Mumbai NGO, HEART Foundation, has recently unveiled a free support group for caregivers of dependent individuals at Belapur, to help family members of convalescents maintain their physical and mental health.

“While no one can ever get into caregivers’ shoes at least through this initiative we can at least provide them a shoulder to lean on,” says Uma Vaidyanathan, coordinator and senior volunteer.

“Through this support group, we will strive to connect caregivers so that they can share and learn from each other’s experiences, interact openly and support each other in every possible manner, learn about resources available in their community and learn ways of coping with the stress of being a caregiver,” she says.

Members of the support group meet every Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. “In the two hours, we plan to conduct sessions on yoga, stress management and medical counselling along with various fun-filled activities,” says Ms. Vaidyanathan.

The idea behind the support group came from the Foundation’s four years of work in the field of health. “We observed that though health care facilities have improved in cities, the plight of the caregivers remains hidden. We felt that caregivers need to be taken care of and supported so that they are able to sail through trying times they find themselves in with ease,” says Dr. Jayakar Ellis, Founder, HEART Foundation.

While people from the higher economic groups have the option of hiring help to look after their physically dependent relatives, people from the lower classes face a resource crunch, and often have to work to keep the home fires burning, says Suvarna Suryavanshi, psychologist and facilitator in the group.

Dr. Shirish Patil, another facilitator, adds, “In most cases, caregivers end up having some physical or mental ailment due to the stress they go through. The lack of support tends to push them into depression. They get sick while caring for the sick.”

Reena Varma, mother of a 23-year-old Down Syndrome girl, says the group was especially useful for women like her, who have to perform household chores in addition to caregiving tasks, and whose social interactions are limited to the four walls of the home, leaving no room for hobbies and aspirations.

“It is difficult for anyone to really understand the plight of caregivers who go through immense stress. Such a forum is a blessing,” says Poornima Yelmalle (37), mother of a 10-year-old autistic boy.

Caregivers can contact: 8080007777/ 97680404043 or email

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