By Angela Stringfellow on Oct 11, 2019 12:45:39 PM
There are over 40 million unpaid caregivers of adults ages 65 older in the United States today. Often, caregivers will tell you that the emotional toll the job takes is much more taxing than any of the physical duties, and without an adequate support system, it’s easy for caregivers to feel isolated and alone, not to mention overwhelmed and fatigued.
Luckily, there are support groups all around the country designed to help caregivers work through daily tasks and find time for self-care. For Rhode Island residents, there are several specialized meetings that are conveniently located statewide. To help you get a better sense of what is available, we’ve found 50 caregiver support groups, which focus on a range of different specialties, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, cancer, and more. We’ve even included caregiver online forums for those who are unable to attend in-person support groups or prefer the ability to seek daily support from the comfort of home.
Family Caregiver Support Groups
- East Providence Senior Activity Center Caregiver’s Support Group
Third Monday of Each Month, 10:30-11:30 am
East Providence, RI
The East Providence Senior Activity Center holds its monthly caregiver support group as part of its Peer Support series. The group meets in order to share stories and to show support among those caring for sick and/or elderly friends and relatives. In addition to this meeting, the East Providence Senior Activity Center also holds monthly stroke, visual impairment, and diabetes support groups.
The HopeHealth Caregiver Support Group meets weekly at its North Main Street hospice location. The group, which is open to anyone caring for someone with an illness, aims to provide emotional care, friendship, and humor, as well as important health information, to caregivers of all experience levels. HopeHealth also offers a long list of grief support groups for caregivers and former caregivers.
- Tiverton Senior Center Caregivers Support Group
Second and Fourth Mondays of Each Month, 2:30 pm
The Tiverton Senior Center hosts a biweekly caregiver support group for area residents. The Canonicous Street location also organizes other caregiving-related meetings, including a hospice and palliative care info session, a grief support group, and more.
- VNA Caregiver Support Group: Mansfield Adult Day Health Center
Fourth Thursday of Each Month, 10:00-11:00 am
Community VNA organizes the VNA Caregiver Support Group, a monthly meeting that is held at the Mansfield Adult Day Health Center. In addition to sharing stories, members also swap tips on caring for loved ones with chronic health challenges. This support group is completely free and open to the public.
- VNA Caregiver Support Group: Norwood Adult Day Health Center
Fourth Tuesday of Each Month, 10:00-11:45 am
Service Coordinator Michael O’Donnell hosts the VNA Caregiver Support Group at the Norwood Adult Day Health Center. The monthly meeting empowers caregivers to become more effective and confident in their caregiving roles. This group is completely free and open to the public.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Support Groups
Caregiver Support Group Lincoln is a monthly meeting that provides support to those caring for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The group is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association as well as AARP. Members meet in the art room of the Lincoln Senior Center.
- Caregivers Support Group Block Island
Every Other Tuesday
Block Island, RI
A support group that caters to the issues of people caring for spouses or other loved ones, this caregiver support group is held at the Block Island Community Center in Block Island, RI and led by Kerri Spier Gaffett, Counselor, LMHC, LCDP, MA.
- Caregiver Support Group South Kingstown
First and Third Tuesday of Each Month, 1:00-2:30 pm
Caregiver Support Group South Kingstown meets twice per month at the South Kingstown Senior Center in Wakefield. In addition to providing emotional support, group leaders and members also share healthcare tips and other advice. This group meets in the conference room of the South Kingstown Senior Center.
The Warren Baptist Church hosts the Caregiver Support Group Warren, a monthly meeting that brings together caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. The group makes use of tools developed by both the Alzheimer’s Association as well as AARP Family Caregiving. The meeting is free and 100% confidential.
- Community VNA Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Support
First Tuesday of Each Month, 1:30-2:30 pm
The Community VNA Main Office in Attleboro hosts the Community VNA Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Support Group, a monthly group that is geared towards loved ones of Alzheimer’s patients as well as those suffering from other related dementia. Meetings are completely free and open to the public. Please note that July and August dates may vary.
- Early Stage Support Group for People Living with Dementia
Fourth Friday of Each Month, 4:30-6:00 pm
Newport Hospital hosts the Early Stage Support Group for People Living with Dementia, a monthly meeting that is open to caregivers as well as patients. The group is free and open to the public. Meetings are held in the library of Newport Hospital.
HopeHealth, a leading hospice, palliative, and dementia care group in Rhode Island, hosts regular dementia educational support groups across the state. Current meetings are held in Barrington, Greenville, Newport, Providence, and Warwick. For more information on meeting places and times, visit the HopeHealth website.
- Leon A. Mathieu Senior Center Alzheimer’s and Dementia Related Family Caregiver Support Group
Last Wednesday of Each Month, 10:00 am
The Leon A. Mathieu Senior Center in Pawtucket hosts its monthly group, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Related Family Caregiver Support Group. As its name suggests, the meeting is geared towards people of all ages caring for a loved one suffering from memory loss. This group meets on the second floor of the Senior Center and is led by Mary Lou Moran, Director of the L.M.S.C.
- LGBT Caregiver Support Group Middletown
First and Third Tuesday of Each Month, 10:00-11:00 am
Calvary United Methodist Church in Middleton hosts a biweekly support group that is open to LGBT individuals who act as caregivers to a partner or loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. The free event is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association of Rhode Island and meets in the living room of the church.
- Lifespan Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group
Second and Fourth Monday of Each Month, 2:45-4:00 pm
Rhode Island health system Lifespan hosts its biweekly Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group at the Tiverton Senior Center. The group, which regularly comes together to discuss issues and share ideas, is completely free and open to the public. For more information, contact Child and Family Services at 401-848-4119.
- Portsmouth Multi-Purpose Senior Center Alzheimer’s Support
Each Tuesday, 9:30 am
The Portsmouth Multi-Purpose Senior Center hosts a weekly Alzheimer’s support group that is designed for both caregivers and patients. This group is free and open to the public.
- Young Onset Support Group North Kingstown
Third Tuesday of Each Month, 6:00-7:30 pm
North Kingstown, RI
The Alzheimer’s Association of Rhode Island organizes the Young Onset Support Group North Kingstown, a monthly meeting designed for caregivers and patients affected by the early stages of Alzheimer’s or related dementia. This meeting is free and welcomes new/drop-in members.
Specialized Caregiver Support Groups
- American Parkinson Disease Association – Attleboro Support Group
Second Wednesday of Each Month, 10:00 am
The American Parkinson Disease Association (ADPA) hosts a monthly support group at Community VNA in Attleboro. This group is open to Parkinson’s patients as well as their caregivers. For more information on times and locations for this specific group, contact Gretchen at 508-226-2910.
- American Parkinson Disease Association – Warwick Support Group
Third Saturday of Each Month, 10:00 am
Another ADPA Parkinson’s’ support group meets at the Kent Hospital Doctor’s Auditorium in Warwick. This meeting is geared specifically toward patients and caregivers affected by young onset Alzheimer’s and other related dementia. For more information, contact Elaine and Bruce at 401-738-5722.
- The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration Support Group
Third Tuesday of Each Month, 5:00-6:30 pm
East Providence, RI
Anchor Bay of East Providence hosts the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration Support Group, a monthly meeting that is designed in conjunction with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. The group, which is led by Chuck Anastasia, is open to all patients and caregivers affected by FTD.
- ALS Patient and Caregiver Group
Fourth Wednesday of Each Month, 6:30-8:00 pm
The ALS Association’s Rhode Island Chapter hosts its monthly Caregiver Group at the Warwick Public Library. Another support group for patients and caregivers meets on Saturday afternoons. To RSVP, contact Lynn at 401-732-1609 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosts its monthly Blood Cancer Support at the Elmhurst Extended Care Facility in Providence for patients and caregivers affected by blood cancer. Though there is no fee for joining, registration is required. The RSVP for can be completed on the LLS website.
- Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island Support Group
Second Tuesday of Each Month, 6:30-7:45 pm
Lifespan hosts the Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island Support Group, a monthly meeting for patients and caregivers affected by brain and spinal cord injuries. The group meets in the Gudoian Conference Room at Newport Hospital. Pre-registration is preferred. Call 401-461-6599 for more information.
- Brian Injury Association of Rhode Island – 1st Monday Caregiver Meeting
First Monday of Each Month, 6:00-7:30 pm
East Providence, RI
The Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island hosts its East Providence monthly meeting at the Brain Injury Resource Center on Waterman Avenue. This group is specifically tailored to fit the needs of those caring for brain and spinal cord injury patients. The group is led by Richard Muto.
- Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island – 2nd Friday Caregiver Meeting
Second Friday of Each Month, 10:00-11:30 am
For Kent County residents, the Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island hosts its free monthly caregiver support group at OSCIL in Warwick. This morning meeting is led by Richard Muto and focuses on the issues surrounding brain and spinal cord injury caregivers.
- Community VNA Monthly Grief Support Group
Second Tuesday of Each Month, 6:30-8:00 pm
Spiritual and Bereavement Care Coordinator Glenn Rounseville, M.Div leads the Community VNA Monthly Grief Support Group, a regular meeting that is geared toward caregivers, family members, and friends of ailing loved ones, as well as those who are grieving a loss. For more information on this group’s monthly topics, take a look at the schedule.
- Community VNA Parkinson’s Support Group
Second Wednesday of Each Month, 10:00-12:00 pm
Gretchen Robinson leads the Community VNA Parkinson’s Support Group, a monthly meeting that gathers together patients and caregivers affected by the disease. Sessions include informative talks, health tips swapping, emotional health support, and even a series of guest speakers. This group is an affiliate of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.
Scandinavian Assisted Living of Cranston hosts an ADPA-affiliated Parkinson’s support group designed for patients and caregivers affected by the disease. For more information on the meeting times and locations of this specific support group, contact Scandinavian Assisted Living at 401-461-1444.
- Deep Brain Stimulation Support Group - Providence
Meeting Times and Dates Vary
Rhode Island Hospital hosts the APDA Deep Brain Stimulation Support Group, a recurring meeting/informational session that aims to educate Parkinson’s patients and caregivers about the ins and outs of DBS. This group meets at the Pediatric Conference Room of the Outpatient Rehab Building.
- Deep Brain Stimulation Support Group - Warwick
Meeting Times and Dates Vary
If you’re a Kent County resident who can’t make the DBS group in Providence, consider the Deep Brain Stimulation Support Group, hosted by Kent Hospital. The meeting/informational session is tailored to Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers who are interested in learning about the benefits of DBS. This meeting gathers at the Doctor’s Auditorium in Kent Hospital.
- East Bay RSVP Stroke Support Group
First Wednesday of Each Month, 1:00-2:00 pm
East Providence, RI
Kim Wetherald hosts leads the East Bay RSVP Stroke Support Group, a monthly gathering for stroke survivors and their caregivers. Each peer-based session includes education, social, and emotional support. This group meets at the East Providence Senior Center.
- The Family Task Force
Second Tuesday of Each Month, 6:00-7:30 pm
The Family Task Force organizes a support group by the same name that is specifically designed for caregivers and family members affected by substance use disorders. In addition to the support group, members also have the opportunity to become statewide naloxone trainers. This group meets at the Parent Support Network in Warwick.
- LGBT Caregivers Support Group
First and Third Tuesday of Each Month, 10:00-11:00 am
The LGBT Caregivers Support Group is a biweekly gathering designed to fit the emotional needs of LGBT caregivers and their families. For more information on this event, visit the Calvary United Methodist Church website.
The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) organizes a variety of its signature Family Support Groups across the state of Rhode Island. NAMI is currently hosting meetings in Barrington, Block Island, Middletown, Providence, Warwick, and Woonsocket. For more information, visit the Programs and Services page.
- National MS Society Caregiver Support Group
Last Monday of Each Month, 2:00-3:30 pm
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society organizes its Caregiver Support Group at the Anthony House Community Room in Portsmouth. These 90-minute sessions are tailored to fit the emotional needs of caregivers whose loved ones are affected by MS. For more information, contact Tom at 774-487-7666.
- National MS Society Positive Perspectives
First Thursday of Each Month, Contact for Meeting Time
Yet another National MS Society support group is Positive Perspectives, a monthly gathering that is for MS patients, as well as their family, friends, and caregivers. Organizers of the social group aim to share good times and laughter with its members. The group meets in the back room of Gregg’s Restaurant in Warwick. For more information, contact Sharon at 401-738-3423.
- Providence Rhode Island Hospital Stroke Support Group
Second Wednesday of Each Month, 6:00-7:30 pm
The Providence Stroke Support Group is a Providence-based monthly meeting that is an affiliate of the American Stroke Association. The open and free gathering is led by Nakeesha Brown at Rhode Island Hospital and meets in the Comprehensive Care Center, APC on the 10th floor in Room 1050.
The Providence VA hosts its monthly Support Group at the Warwick Vet Center. The group is specifically designed for caregivers of veterans suffering from dementia or spinal cord injuries/disorders. In addition to this support group, Providence VA also offers a long list of other services for caregivers, including peer mentoring, respite care, mental health services, training, and more. Visit the Providence VA website to get more information.
Catholic Social Services of Rhode Island hosts the St. Matthias Recovery Ministry, a monthly gathering that provides services to individuals and caregiving families grappling with drug and alcohol problems. Its Hope & Cope Support Group meets at the Chapel Meeting Room at the St. Barnabas Church in Portsmouth.
Virtual/Phone Caregiver Support Groups
- Alzheimer’s Association LGBT Phone Support Group
First Monday of Each Month, Contact for Meeting Time
Phone Support Group
On the first Monday of each month, Barb Meehan leads a phone support group specifically designed for the LGBTQ spouses and partners of Alzheimer’s patients. In addition to providing emotional support, members are also regularly given important disease-related information and resources.
The AARP Online Community features the Caregiving Online Forum, a safe, anonymous space that allows caregivers to seek advice and support in a peer-based environment. Top discussions include in-home caregiving options, financial compensation, grief, and medical advice.
- American Cancer Society Caregiver Support Web Series
Available 24/7 on the American Cancer Society Website
On its website, the American Cancer Society has a series of free, helpful videos that are made to address the common issues faced by today’s caregivers, particularly when it comes to self-care. The video series includes topics like healthy eating, physical activity, stress management, free of recurrence, and relaxation. There are also cancer care-specific videos on drain care and lifting.
- American Heart Association Caregiver Support Network
Available 24/7 on the American Heart Association Website
The American Heart Association provides anonymous online forums for caregivers of both heart and stroke patients. It only takes a short three minutes to register as a forum user, and joining is 100% free.
- American Lung Association Caring for Pulmonary Fibrosis
Available 24/7 on the American Lung Association Website
The American Lung Association provides a free and anonymous forum which is made for caregivers of patients grappling with pulmonary fibrosis. The Caring for Pulmonary Fibrosis forums contains a support group and discussion community that features blog posts, articles, and plenty of peer-based advice.
- Lewy Body Dementia Association Virtual Groups
Available 24/7 on the Lewy Body Association Website
The Lewy Body Dementia Association, better known as LBDA, hosts a range of helpful virtual communities on its website, as well as on Facebook. These communities are made up of caregiving peers who seek advice, support, and education on the disease. Caregivers can choose to join groups like LBD Caring Spouses, the LBDA Care Partner Facebook Support Group, the Living with Lewy Facebook Support Group, and the Living Together with Lewy Facebook Support Group.
- Memory People Awareness Page
Available 24/7 on the Memory People Awareness Facebook Page
Founded back in November of 2010, the Memory People Awareness Page is an online support group and forum on Facebook that is designed for “patients, caregivers, advocates, family members and professionals who are dealing with and walking this journey of Alzheimer's/dementia or any memory impairment.” Administrators of the page regularly post live videos that focus on education and awareness.
The National Kidney Foundation hosts a special program called NKF Peers, a resource that pairs caregivers of kidney disease patients with trained peer mentors. Peer mentors are always a phone call away to answer important questions about treating the disease. Those who prefer 24/7 access can visit the NKF Online Communities.
The online resource Quora is home to a popular Senior Care board. This online forum contains a helpful, peer-published article bank that is designed for caregivers of seniors and includes a wide range of topics, such as nursing home selection, financial tips for caregivers, and even first-hand advice from doctors and nurses.
The Smart Patients Caregiving Community is an online forum that has been made possible in partnership with Family Caregiver Alliance. This community takes an ultra-focused approach to the online support group model by providing hard-hitting, relevant topics like patient education, treatment research, caregiver and patient stories, and even clinical trial information.
Caregiver Nation is an online Facebook community with over 3,000 members. Created by Seniorlink, Caregiver Nation provides caregivers from across the nation with a safe space to share stories and ideas, vent, and learn. The community is a great place to make a new friend, and to grow as a caregiver.