Get the emotional support you need
How do I find support groups in my area?
You can get help by visiting the Community Resource Finder.
Or you can call our 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900
What are support groups?
Support groups are confidential meetings of persons diagnosed with Alzheimer's, or their caregivers. You can learn more about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias there and meet others going through similar situations. Some groups meet monthly, others weekly, and they are free and open to anyone. The groups are not run by the Alzheimer's Association, but the Association does provide group facilitators with training and support. Group facilitators are asked to sign confidentiality agreements and conflict of interest forms with the Alzheimer's Association. (Interested in becoming a support group facilitator yourself? Please read about our training program.)
What types of support groups are there?
Caregiver -- Most of our Support Groups are non-specific Caregiver Groups, designed for someone who is caring for a loved one with a diagnosis of dementia near or far.
Disease Specific Caregiver groups -- Some Caregiver Groups are disease specific, such as Lewy Body Dementia, Frontal temporal dementia (Indicated in group type).
Specific Audiences -- Some Caregiver Groups are designed for a specific audience such as Down's Syndrome, Mindful Caregiving, Men Caregivers etc. (Indicated in group type).
Younger Onset Dementia -- Support Groups specifically designed for families with a loved one diagnosed under the age of 65. These can be for Caregivers, Early Stage, and for Young Adults, with a parent diagnosed at a Younger age. (Indicated in Group type)
Who attends support groups?
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 creates an opportunity for participants to help each other deal with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.
What is a group like?
Most groups meet 1 or 2 times a month for 60-90 minutes, and provide a combination of education and emotional support. Technology-assisted groups (groups via phone or internet) usually meet more often but for less time.
A typical group starts with a facilitator(s) introducing him or herself and making announcements, and the members introducing themselves however they are comfortable doing so. A group may then follow-up with issues from the previous meeting, answer questions, provide educational information, or allow an open format for member discussion. Groups conclude in a variety of ways that vary from a deep breathing exercise or the facilitator providing handouts on topics discussed in the meeting to the telling of a ‘joke of the month’ or a ten minute coffee break for members to chat informally.
Why should someone attend a group?
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 is a great place to laugh.
Click here for our full list of Support Groups in Massachusetts in New Hampshire