How to Find an Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers Support Group0 USER TIPS ADD YOUR TIP
Caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia can be a fulfilling experience, but it can also be extremely stressful and overwhelming. It’s no coincidence that the title of the best-selling book on Alzheimer’s is called The 36-Hour Day—one of the book’s authors was inspired to name it that after hearing a full-time caregiver for a spouse with dementia describe his experience as “living a 36-hour day, every day.” The demands of the caregiving role can feel isolating, which can lead to caregiver burnout or depression. Joining a support group comprised of others who are in the same situation—and can not only commiserate but offer advice around the particular challenges of dementia care—can help lessen the stress and isolation.
Here are five resources for finding an Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiver support group:
1. Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver Support Group Finder
The Alzheimer’s Association sponsors a variety of support groups nationwide for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia to provide a safe place to chat with others about the challenges and victories of caregiving. The goal is to provide a space where caregivers can get encouragement and empathy from others who “really understand because they’ve been there, too.” During each meeting, group members exchange practical information on caregiving problems and potential solutions, talk through challenges and coping strategies, share feelings, and learn about available resources nearby. Each group is led by a trained individual, and most groups meet monthly. To find a nearby Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support group, use its online support group finder.
2. Online support groups
For caregivers who don’t have the desire or time to attend an in-person support group, there are many popular online support groups for caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia:
- AlzConnected is an online forum provided by the Alzheimer’s Association where caregivers can ask questions, share stories of failures and successes, and more.
- Memory People is a Facebook group for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their caregivers, family members, as well as advocates and professionals. It aims to provide comfort, understanding, awareness, and helpful information round-the-clock.
- Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers Support is a Facebook group for any caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia designed to stimulate conversation and provide all members with a safe place to post personal feelings.
- Caring.com Support Groups is a hub of support groups from Caring.com, with several tailored for caregivers of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
3. Eldercare Locator
Provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging, the Eldercare Locator pinpoints local support groups for caregivers across the nation. It also provides community resources and other services (such as training or counseling), as well as basic contact information for each support group or service.
Meetup is a website for users to search for unique groups nearby, or create their own group. The website has a special section committed to groups based on Alzheimer’s or dementia, with the majority of groups dedicated to caregiver support for people who are looking to “meet other local people and families finding ways to cope with many of the difficult decisions presented by Alzheimer’s disease.” Caregivers can search for groups based on where they live, read a basic description on different groups and its goals, as well as find contact information or meeting times.
5. Memory cafés
For those looking for a less structured form of support while still getting the benefits of social interaction with people in a similarity, memory cafés (sometimes referred as Alzheimer’s cafés) are places for those suffering from memory loss, as well as their caregivers and loved ones, to talk, relax, and have fun. Most cafés are held at libraries, community centers, someone’s home, or another suitable venue for people impacted by Alzheimer’s or dementia to simply enjoy one another’s company and find solidarity. You can find a memory cafe through the Memory Café Directory.