Finding Support as a Care Partner
Supporting a loved one with dementia is not easy; each experience is unique. It is important to remember, however, that you do not have to walk this path alone. The following is an excerpt from Mayo Clinic on Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias on the types of support available to care partners.
Informal support can come from family, friends, neighbors, and faith communities. These groups often consist of people who knew your loved one before the onset of the disease.
You may count on them, for example, to make visits or take the person you are caring for to an activity. Their visits may be as valuable for you as they are for the person living with dementia because they keep you both socially connected.
Formal support includes any nonprofit or for-profit agency that provides assistance to individuals in caregiving settings. Home health agencies, community programs like classes, day programs, and elder care centers are all examples. Formal support also includes support groups.
There are several different types of formal support groups that each serve a slightly different purpose:
- Disease-specific groups: These can be groups for care partners of people with dementia, but they can be more specific, like a group for Lewy body dementia or frontotemporal degeneration care partners.
- Relationship-specific groups: These groups might bring together people in specific caregiving situations or relationships. Examples include people caring for a spouse or partner, adult children caring for a parent, or men who are caregivers.
- Peer-led support groups: These groups are led by current or former care partners who share the same experience of caregiving.
- Groups led by a trained facilitator: The facilitator may be a social worker, wellness coach, clergy person, elder care provider, or another professional.
- Community meetups: These groups gather caregivers, persons with dementia, or both at a community location such as a coffee shop or library for the purpose of socialization.
- Educational: These groups are often centered on an educational topic with opportunities for learning, sharing and Q & A.
- Activity: These groups gather caregivers, persons with dementia, or both to engage in a shared experience such as visiting a museum, a creative project, or a singing group.
- Online and telephone caregiver groups: These groups offer support to people who cannot travel to a face-to-face meeting, or who need to talk to someone during off hours. You may find a variety of chatrooms, blogs, and support groups on the internet.
If you are looking for online support groups to join, our resources tab contains information for various disease-specific organizations that offer support.