Connecting with others who have the same kinds of struggles as you do is an important part of coping with Alzheimer's disease. The Heart of America Chapter provides regularly scheduled, confidential meetings of persons diagnosed with Alzheimer's or their caregivers. Groups are facilitated by trained professionals or former family caregivers, whose primary purpose is to provide knowledge about Alzheimer's disease while allowing members to receive support and encouragement from others in a similar situation. Some meet each month, others biweekly.
People of all ages, races, genders, education levels and backgrounds. Although many members join when they are feeling overwhelmed and uncertain, people who attend groups tend to be strong individuals who are looking to gain the best support available for themselves and their families and who want to learn about the disease, and prepare for the future. It also allows an opportunity for participants to help each other deal with the challenges of Alzheimer's disease.
While attending a group is not the solution for all, it can be a vital part of maintaining the health and well-being of both caregiver and patient. Groups provide vital education about managing dementia care that reduces stress for all involved. Research has shown that attending a support group can not only reduce caregiver stress, but improve the functioning of people with Alzheimer's, keep them living at home longer, and assist in managing difficult behaviors that may arise.
Many people don't attend a group because they think they are depressing or someplace you go if you can't cope. But the opposite is true! Groups help you cope. Studies have found that the least depressed caregivers attend a group. And group members themselves have often found that while the group is a good place to cry if you need to, it is also a great place to laugh.
Check to see if there is a group close to you that fits your needs, or if you prefer, call our 24-hour Information and Support Line at 1.800.272.3900.
Early Stage Support Groups (Prairie Village, Topeka, St. Joseph, and Platte Woods)
Early stage support groups provide information, discussion and inspiration through an honest exchange of how each are coping and continuing on with good and productive lives. If you are considering joining the early stage support group, contact a Heart of America staff (listed below) for an orientation meeting prior to attendance. The orientation meeting provides and opportunity to ask questions and insure the group is the right fit for your needs.
Prairie Village: Michelle Niedens, 913.831.3888
Group meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month
Main Chapter Office, 3846 W. 75th Street
Prairie Village, KS
5:45 - 7:15 p.m.
Topeka: Debbie Holroyd, 785.271.1844
Group meets the 1st Wednesday of the month
First Congregational Church
1701 SW Collins Avenue
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
St. Joseph: Brenda Gregg, 816.364.4467
Group meets the last Tuesday of the month
Northwest Missouri Regional Office
2nd Floor of the First Christian Church
10th and Faraon
St. Joseph, MO
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Connect with others online. The Alzheimer’s Association message boards and chat rooms provide a virtual online community for persons with Alzheimer's, caregivers and care providers. Our message boards have thousands of registered members from around the United States and thousands more who refer to the stories and information that is available 24 hours a day.