Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia that can be challenging for those with the condition and the people who care for them. Support groups may help provide these individuals with emotional support and a sense of community.

Researchers estimate that Alzheimer’s disease affects about 6.2 million adults over the age of 65 in the United States.

In-person and online Alzheimer’s support groups are available across the United States. There are also groups for caregivers. Although the specifics can vary between organizations, these groups may provide emotional and mental health support and resources about the condition.

This article explores Alzheimer’s support groups, including in-person and online options. It also describes their potential benefits.

Alzheimer’s and dementia resources

To discover more evidence-based information and resources for Alzheimer’s and dementia, visit our dedicated hub.

Was this helpful?
A person using a walking frame speaking with a person using a wheelchair and another person 1Share on Pinterest
Getty Images

In-person Alzheimer’s support groups typically offer local meetings for people with the condition.

A person can search online for organizations that operate in their area. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association has many regional chapters that offer local services for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Its website has a search tool to help people find their nearest chapter.

Though services may vary depending on location, some services they offer include:

  • support for individuals with Alzheimer’s and those who support people with the condition
  • information and news about Alzheimer’s disease
  • volunteer opportunities
  • fundraising events

Other organizations to consult include the National Institute on Aging and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

People who have Alzheimer’s or care for a person with the condition can also ask a doctor about local organizations offering in-person support groups. Alternatively, social workers at a hospital or other healthcare professionals may be able to help with finding them.

Online Alzheimer’s support groups may provide similar benefits to in-person support groups, including:

  • support for emotional needs and mental health
  • help with answering questions and finding resources
  • connecting with others
  • fundraising opportunities
  • events

An additional advantage may be the ease of access. People can often connect with people at their convenience online and join a group from anywhere. This may be particularly useful for people in rural areas who cannot find an in-person support group nearby.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers an online group called ALZConnected. People can register to join and participate in discussions with others living with Alzheimer’s or other caregivers. These discussion groups are also available for people who speak Spanish.

People who are on Facebook may find connecting to one or more of the following virtual groups helpful:

Local doctors, hospitals, social workers, and other professionals may be able to help a person find other online groups and forums they can join.

Phone-based groups

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America offers a variety of groups people can access by phone.

They work similarly to in-person groups, with a trained social worker facilitating, and allow a person to speak directly with others living with Alzheimer’s disease. There is also a group for caregivers.

A person will need to register to join one of these.

Both the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and the Alzheimer’s Association offer support groups specifically for caregivers. These may be available in person or online.

There are also various caregiver support groups on Facebook, such as:

Additionally, caregivers can ask for recommendations for support groups from local doctors, social workers, or other healthcare professionals.

Support groups may people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers:

  • connect with others
  • share their experiences
  • find support for mental health and other services
  • participate in events and fundraisers

A 2016 review of the effects of support groups on individuals with early-stage dementia found that they positively affected participant acceptance of cognitive impairment, performance and satisfaction of meaningful activity, and resilience. They also positively affected care partner coping self-efficacy, perceived support, preparation, and task effectiveness.

However, its authors point out that few reviewed studies included ethnic diversity, limiting the generalizability of findings. They note that further large-scale studies are needed to confirm the effects of support groups.

A small 2018 study involving six male caregivers aged 74–85 years with partners with Alzheimer’s also found that they benefitted from joining an all-male caregiver support group.

Its authors suggest that connecting with others through a support group may help people feel less isolated.

Alzheimer’s support groups are available in-person and online. They may benefit those with the condition and their caregivers.

People can speak with a healthcare professional about local or virtual Alzheimer’s support groups. Alternatively, they can look online for more information.