By Madison Jozefiak on Aug 30, 2021 4:01:48 PM
If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, your daily responsibilities can be overwhelming, stressful, and isolating; even if you’ve been looking after them for some time. While each caregiver’s experience is as unique as the loved ones they care for, you are not alone in the difficulties you face, either. Among the many free resources available to dementia caregivers, some of the most popular are support groups that connect dementia patients, caregivers, family members, and other members of local communities. As you discover more resources and learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, these support groups make it easier find clarity and additional guidance.
Below are 8 the best online, remote-access dementia support groups to help you and your loved one through your journey with this illness. Through groups such as these, countless caregivers and their loved ones have connected with others who are navigating similar obstacles as they care for their loved ones. Read on to learn about some options that might turn out to be excellent resources for both you or your loved one.
ALZConnected is a free online community from the Alzheimer’s Association, created for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their loved ones to connect with others in their situation. There are two forums available on the website, one for those living with Alzheimer’s and another for their caregivers. Visitors can participate in online discussions or virtual support groups in addition to other events that are scheduled periodically. The Alzheimer’s Association also has an online search tool for finding virtual support groups with a particular focus or location.
Caregiver Nation is a Facebook group where over 6 thousand family caregivers share information, understanding, empathy, and resources. The group initially began as a community of caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, and while it has since grown to include those caring for loved ones with a variety of complex or chronic medical conditions, a significant number of members have experience caring for someone with dementia. Caregiver Nation is a safe space to vent, ask questions, or seek support. It’s a helpful free resource to help family caregivers feel less alone and more supported in their efforts.
This Facebook support group of over 9,600 members was started by Jean O’Connor who, was seeking a community for caregivers as she cared for her father with dementia. Family members, caregivers, and friends of people with dementia can request to join the group to share their experiences and learn from each other. The support chat group discusses a variety of topics such as medication management, hospice care, and treatment options.
The Facebook support group Memory People was founded by Rick Phelps, who was seeking support and community after his diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in late 2010. With over 24,000 members, the group has grown significantly since its early beginnings. The very inclusive forum brings together caregivers, family members, patients, professionals, and medical advocates. It provides its diverse group of members with the opportunity to share their stories and seek support.
The eldercare company HopeHealth hosts a free Dementia Caregiver Support Group that meets four days a week in the morning and early evening. New visitors can call HopeHealth directly or send them an email to receive an invitation with the Zoom link. The company also hosts a weekly General Caregiver Support Group and a Veteran Caregiver Support Group, as well as twice monthly Mindfulness Meditation for Caregivers sessions.
Caregiver-Online is an email-powered support group operated by the Family Caregiver Alliance. New users simply enter their name, email address, and a password to subscribe to the discussions. After joining, you can choose to receive a daily digest of active topics or receive emails individually as each discussion unfolds. This is an easy and low-pressure way to connect with other caregivers and share questions, concerns, and ideas.
Smart Patients is an online support community hosted by the American Parkinson Disease Association. In addition to their Parkinson’s Disease support group, Smart Patients hosts over 100 additional communities for other conditions, including dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders. To get started, new visitors enter their email address to subscribe and view the conversation threads on the site.
Emotional and educational support are vital to quality of life for both people living with dementia and for their caregivers. Online support groups such as the 8 listed above are one popular way to connect with a broader community of people who are seeking to engage with others and address similar challenges, or to share ideas and words of encouragement. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias add significant stress to families’ lives and leave many caregivers feeling isolated. The right dementia support group could become a great source of support, and with a number of free, online options available, it’s not difficult to give one a try.
Need help caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias? Learn more about Seniorlink’s support program for caregivers of Medicaid-eligible friends and family members.