Circles of Supports for Caregivers

August 23, 2019
Basic Needs
Health and Mental Care
Family Support

Lisa Math B.S., CRPS-F , Family Training Coordinator, South Florida Wellness

As a parent or caregiver, our first concerns are to make sure that our loved one is safe, healthy, and happy. We will run in every direction to secure resources, services, and supplies – sometimes at the expense of our own wellness.

What is not recognized is the need for the caregiver to take time to maintain one’s own wellness. There’s a reason that flight attendants explain the oxygen procedure this way: always put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help others. In other words, you can’t be of help to someone else if you pass out! The same goes for any caregiver.The caregiver’s needs must be managed to be able to effectively help another person.

Caregiver Stress
How does a caregiver manage their own needs while managing others? What supports are effective in keeping the caregiver’s wellness in check? Where does a caregiver go to get the support one needs? These are all important and vital questions that every caregiver needs to ponder. Without the answers, a caregiver runs the risk of encountering a crisis without having a crisis plan in place.

Every caregiver should create a list of questions that need to be answered when the situation is stable, and they are able to contemplate effective answers. All caregivers should have an idea of how one will manage their own wellness in both stable times and crises. It cannot be overstated that support resources and circles of support can be lifesaving!

Here’s a brief list of questions that caregivers should consider, taking care to individualize the list to meet personal needs and concerns:
1. What time have I set aside for myself this week?
2. What activities do I want to do for myself this week?
3. Who can I call if I need to talk?
4. Who can I meet with to take a break?
5. What are the signs I am overextended or overtired?
6. What does it look like when I am in crisis and in need of help?
7. What resources do I have immediately to support myself?
8. Who can I reach out to for services?
9. If I need to take a break, who can I rely on to take over my caregiver duties?
10. What community resources are available to me?
11. Have I created a list for others to help support me?
12. Where will I leave information in my home (in case I need someone to come support me when I’m not able to effectively engage)?

Where to Look for Support
Most caregivers rely on a small circle of friends - and some professionals- to support their journey. But thinking “out of the box” is an effective way to bring more people and resources into one’s circle of support.

Start by reviewing your day. Who are the people you encounter regularly that know you well enough to recognize when “things aren’t right”? Make a list of those people and talk with them to ask if they can be a support resource for you. Think about colleagues at work, at the places you exercise, at the library you frequently visit. Create connections that allow you the space to breathe and get respite from the hard work of caregiving. Are you in school? What about engaging those people you encounter regularly in that environment?

Other support resources can be found on social media or websites. Meet-up websites allow you to input information to narrow your search for people in your community with very similar experiences. Opportunities to volunteer in your community enable you to meet new people and have new outlets.You can research opportunities on the web by inputting search terms like
“volunteer opportunities” or “volunteer match” in your county.

Recognize and React
As a caregiver, the best thing you can do for your loved ones is to recognize when you need support and react before a situation becomes a crisis.Learn what you need, collect your resources, and reach out to your circles of support. 

Lisa Math B.S., CRPS-F, is the Family Training Coordinator at South Florida Wellness Network (SFWN). SFWN is a peer-run agency that works with youth and adults in recovery from mental health and/or substance use challenges and the family caregivers who support them. Ms. Math is also a caregiver in her personal life, and has learned to put her oxygen mask on first!

Share this post

Learn More About CSC Broward

Our organization provides leadership, advocacy and resources to enhance the lives of the children of Broward County and empower them to become responsible, productive adults.

Stay Connected

Find A Program That Fits Your Needs

SNAC (Special Needs Advisory Coalition) | Children's Services Council of Broward County

The Children’s Services Council has been at the forefront in funding programming for children and youth with physical, developmental or behavioral health needs since its inception. In 2004, the Council commissioned Broward County’s Business Plan for Children with Special Needs which became the impetus for establishing a stakeholder group known as the Special Needs Advisory Coalition (SNAC). The SNAC has been instrumental in advocating for system improvements and reducing service gaps.

Primary POC: Marissa Aquino |

2-1-1 Broward General Hotline | 2-1-1 Broward
2-1-1 or 954-537-0211

2-1-1 Broward, an information & referral line, provides a 24-hour, comprehensive help line and support service for individuals seeking crisis intervention assistance and/or information and referrals to health and human services in Broward County. An impressive database of information is used to provide community callers with current, relevant information regarding a wide variety of services within the community. All calls are toll-free, confidential and anonymous from anywhere in Broward County.

Capacity Building Mini Grants | Children's Services Council of Broward County

Infrastructure building support is provided to local child and family serving nonprofit organizations through our annual Capacity Buildings Mini Grants. Through a competitive grant process, local organizations are awarded funding for capacity building projects, professional business coaching and or fundraising support each year.

Primary POC: Adamma DuCille |

Cribs for Kids | Heathy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County

In 2003, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a report that estimated that the risk of infant suffocation increases 20-fold when infants and adults sleep in the same bed. Cribs for Kids provides low-income families with free GRACO Pack ‘n Play® cribs, one crib sheet, and a safe-sleep sack, and counsels parents on the dangers of co-sleeping.

Primary POC: Ashley Sturm | | 954-765-0550 ext. 339

CSC Sponsored Trainings | Children's Services Council of Broward County

The CSC offers quality and affordable training workshops for professionals serving children and families in Broward County. Each session is led by instructors that are highly qualified and experienced in their field to provide an optimal learning environment. CEU’s are also offered for many of the completed courses. For a training calendar and to register, please visit our website at

Primary POC: Adamma DuCille |

Drowning Prevention | Florida Department of Health in Broward County

Drowning Prevention is a collaborative community effort driven by the Drowning Prevention Task Force. In 2009, the Children’s Services Council allocated funding to support a full-time coordinator housed at the Broward County Health Department who provides insight and accountability for the implementation of the Drowning Prevention Action Plan.
Task Force members create a culture throughout Broward that infuses drowning prevention methodologies, practices, and messages that directly impact families with young children.

Early Literacy Interventions | Reading & Math, Inc.

Reading & Math, Inc., through a partnership with Broward County Public Schools, is implementing the Reading Corps program in Broward County. Florida Reading Corps tutors serve Broward County’s most at-risk students with targeted early literacy interventions. Reading Corps screens all students at designated schools to identify children who are behind on early literacy skills, and develop individualized tutoring plans to meet each child’s needs.

The Faces of CSC

The greatest tool you can give a child is the ability to persuade and speak with confidence. Being that my YIG experience positively impacted my emotional literacy skills, I would like to pass these on to those who are less fortunate.
"This program has touched me and made a difference in my life."
"I will be the first to say, Youth in Government should be a part of every teenager's life, because I know without it I wouldn't be the person I am."