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  • Increasing cases of Alzheimer’s disease have led to a higher demand for support groups that address the needs of people living with the condition as well as their caregivers or family members.
  • Options can include in-person support groups, classes, social media groups, and online message boards.
  • Additionally, virtual resources and awareness events can offer connection.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder, meaning that symptoms get worse over time. That’s why it requires ongoing medical treatment to help slow down the effects and symptoms.

In addition to medical treatments, though, it’s important to have a support system in place for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s disease also need support for their own mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Support from friends and loved ones is important, but you may also find it helpful to find an organized support group. Whether in-person or virtual, big or small, support groups can make you feel more empowered and less alone because you’ll connect with others who are going through similar experiences.

Read on to learn more about Alzheimer’s support groups and how you can access them.

In the United States, Alzheimer’s disease affects about 6.2 million adults over age 65, according to 2021 data from the Alzheimer’s Association. Without medical advances in the areas of treatment or prevention, this number could more than double by the year 2060, the organization suggests.

With these increasing numbers comes a higher demand for support groups to address the needs of people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

If you’re looking for an in-person Alzheimer’s support group in your area, consider getting more information from:

Online Alzheimer’s support groups offer flexibility in terms of time and travel, as well as safety due to COVID-19 concerns. Depending on the type of online group, sessions may be in a synchronous format where everyone joins at the same time, such as live group talks or meetings.

Other groups, such as message boards and community chats, may be asynchronous. This means you can log on whenever you want, which gives you a bit more flexibility in terms of time.

Some Alzheimer’s organizations, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, offer virtual resources as well. Here, along with support groups, you can find online message boards for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, plus their friends, family members, and caregivers.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s free message boards are offered via ALZConnected. One message board called I Have Alzheimer’s or Another Dementia is designed specifically for people affected with this brain condition.

This is a public forum, though, so be careful about sharing any personal information. And because message boards are intended for information only, not medical advice, it’s best to check with your doctor before trying any recommendations you read.

You may also decide to join one (or more) Alzheimer’s support groups on Facebook, such as:

Alzheimer’s caregiver support groups may be held in your community at churches, health centers, or a mental health professional’s office.

For virtual options, you may consider joining one or multiple Facebook groups. Consider the following:

The Alzheimer’s Association also has a message board specifically for caregivers. In the ALZConnected Caregivers Forum, you may ask questions and lend support to others. Keep in mind that this message board is public, so be cautious about sharing any personal information.

Another virtual option to support caregivers is the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America helpline.

Calling this toll-free number will connect you with a social worker. This person can give you advice on how to address the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s and care for others with the condition. You may also be connected with local resources in your area.

Learn more about the Helpline here, or dial 866-232-8484 to get started. You may also text the Helpline instead at 646-586-5283.

Despite the numerous Alzheimer’s support group options available, you may not have found the right fit, or a group might not exist in your own area yet.

You have a few different options for starting an in-person Alzheimer’s support group. For a small monthly fee, you can start a Meetup group and post events to meet others in your area. You may also want to consider posting ads in your local community center, church, or newspaper.

To start an online Alzheimer’s support group, also consider the free tools offered by Facebook groups. You can host conversations and moderate comments for community safety. Learn more here.

If you’re not quite ready to commit to joining any particular Alzheimer’s support group, you may consider attending an event first.

While many in-person events have gone virtual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some areas are still holding outdoor walks and other fundraising events. For example, you can find or start a team for Walk to End Alzheimer’s here.

Other events may be held online, such as conferences, group chats, and more. These also allow you to connect with others in a shared space.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, for example, has daily virtual events like educational classes, arts and crafts, movement activities, and more. Check out the monthly calendar for more information.

Additionally, you may find more events throughout the month of June, which is considered Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.

Whether you or someone you love has Alzheimer’s disease, the benefits of joining a support group can help you mentally and emotionally. Long-term research has also found support groups — particularly those in professionally led settings — can improve your mental health.

By connecting with others going through similar experiences, you may feel less alone and more empowered in your journey. Support groups of all types also offer educational opportunities about Alzheimer’s disease for those living with it, as well as caregivers.

An Alzheimer’s disease support group can be a complement to your ongoing care plan for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It’s important for caregivers to have this type of support too, so they can be their best selves when caring for loved ones with this disorder.

Whether you’re looking for an in-person or virtual support group, there are numerous options to consider. You may even join more than one group to help meet your needs.