Finding Support
A support group of peers can be invaluable to both new and seasoned caregivers.

Caregivers of persons with dementia face difficult challenges. One of the most valuable benefits of being in a support group is learning about coping skills and helpful resources from your peers. Every person’s experience is so different, yet there are similarities that often only other caregivers can relate to. Many caregivers find new friends and social contacts in support groups.

Why Join a Support Group?

Talking to other people with similar experiences can help reduce your stress, frustration and isolation. Plus, other caregivers often have helpful advice on what worked for them. A support group can provide a safe place to express your own needs and deal with painful emotions, including aggression, anger, mourning and guilt. It is a relief to know you’re not alone.

The best groups for caregivers tend to be groups focused on the specific disease causing dementia and that provide a safe, trusting environment with a clear structure and facilitator. That said, your area may not have a disease-specific support group, yet you might find other caregivers like you in a dementia-related support group. Try the groups that appeal to you and meet your needs. It might help to talk to the facilitator or leader before the first meeting.

 

Support Groups at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center

 

Caregiver & Dementia Support Groups Beyond UC San Francisco

If there is not a disease-specific support group in your area, try some of these groups that focus on dementia or caregivers. You can check with a social worker at your hospital, adult day care centers, your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter or community organizations for recommendations. You can find help and good ideas from people dealing with similar issues.