Virtual Support Group by Skype?

  When I first started this blog, my intent was to create a virtual support group; a place on-line that people, like me, who could not get away to attend support group meetings could get together on-line.  While this blog has allowed me to make many new friends and to gain support periodically from each of you, it doesn’t allow for that “personal” touch.  But I have an idea that might just work….let me know what you think.

Have you ever heard of Skype?  Skype is an online phone service that is free and allows you to both talk to and see whom you’re calling. Lynn uses it to speak to book clubs about his book and while it’s not always the best picture (depends on the equipment being used of course), it allows you to meet the people on the other end of the conversation.  Skype also offers an option for video conferencing which enables the subscriber to have multiple pictures of callers up at the same time.  There is a fee for this but it’s only $10/month if someone wanted that option.  See where I’m going with this?

If enough people were interested, we could have a virtual support group of caregivers.  From the location of our own home, we could reach out from across the country or even overseas to meet each other and share a “real time” conversation.  By getting together on-line in this manner we could attend a support group while still caring for our family members.  Many laptops now have webcam capabilities built in but I’ve looked into buying a webcam and you can get some good ones for less than $50.  Skype has some listed as five stars that are around $25. I’m very technology illiterate so I may be missing something that would not make this possible, but I don’t see why not? 

If you’re interested, I was thinking maybe once a month, on a Saturday afternoon, we could designate an hour to talk about whatever is going on that month.  I’m not a therapist or a counselor so this would not be a therapy session; just a group of caregivers who share a common challenge who get together to encourage and support one another.   I don’t know if it would work but I think God put this on my mind as an option to reach out to support people in a more personal way.  I would still do my blog but this would be a separate project.

So, what do you think?  If you’re interested, let me know.  If there’s enough interest, I’ll buy the subscription to Skype for group video conferencing.  I think you could call in and just view me if you only want the free subscription or if you also subscribed to video conferencing, you could see everyone else who calls in. I’m not sure about that though but it makes sense that you could.  So give it some thought and we’ll see if there’s any interest.  I’ll get back to you in about a month to let you know if there’s enough interest and when the first meeting would be.

Be “seeing” you soon?

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About mscaregiverdonna

I am a full-time caregiver for my spouse who has Multiple Sclerosis while I try to work full-time, take care of our home, and handle any number of other functions that used to be shared by the two of us. I'm learning that it's amazing what you can do when you have to and when you have God to send you the resources you need to manage moment by moment.
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12 Responses to Virtual Support Group by Skype?

  1. Robbi says:

    I think that would be great. Thanks for thinking of it. Let me know if you need any help with anything.

  2. Bina says:

    I would be VERY interested! I’m happy to help with things on my end if it’s needed. Great idea!

  3. Bina says:

    PS There may be a way to do this via Google Plus using their “hangout” feature which I think is free. I’ve done a few of those with some online knitting friends…works ok but everyone needs to be on Google Plus.

  4. Lynn says:

    I would be interested in this also. Kid #2, age 20 at college, mysteriously got beer spilled on her laptop and of course ruined it. She is borrowing our laptop while saving to buy a new one, so I will need to buy a cheap webcam when this gets underway. It is just amazing how that red cup full of beer managed to find its way, all by itself, into her locked bedroom and spill itself on her laptop. Just astounding, bahaha.

  5. MarkMayhew says:

    Great idea, and now that Skype is on smartphones, it can be easily used almost all of the time!
    I’m markjmayhew on Skype if anybody wants to practice/talk!

  6. Jene' says:

    I am very intereted there is nothing in Iowa to give any support for caregivers.

    • mscaregiverdonna says:

      Unfortunately, I was not able to get a virtual support group activated. What I found was that it was very difficult to find a way for a caregiver to talk openly while at home plus it was hard for them to get free long enough to meet. Therefore, I dropped that idea; however, if you ever need to talk, let me know and we can email. Are you aware of the National MS Society’s MS Connection site? It’s not a support group but you can often find connections there that are supportive.
      Donna

      • Jene' Lamb says:

        I have contacted them and they give no kind of help. There is a phone # for one but it isnt a group anymore. I am really looking for any kind of help/support. I have looked for any support and have found nothing.

  7. Lynn says:

    Jene’, I am from Iowa and my husband has MS. I live in West Moines, are you from anywhere near there?
    Lynn

    • mscaregiverdonna says:

      I’m in Virginia. My husband, Lynn, is the one with MS and I take care of him. We live in a rural area in Central Virginia.

  8. Lynn says:

    Oops, West Des Moines

    • Jene' says:

      I live on the south side of Des Moines. My mom has MS and I have been her main caregiver for the last 3 years.

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