Importance of Support Groups

support group

Many people question if they should attend a support group.  There are many valid reasons why caregivers find support groups to be helpful in managing their day to day life with someone with Alzheimer’s disease or one of the related dementias.

So let’s take a look at the advantages of participating in a monthly Alzheimer’s (AD) support group:

  1.  They provide educational information about dementia in general and AD specifically.
  2.  Caregivers have an opportunity to offer and receive support from others in the group.
  3. The social interaction is important, as many caregivers feel very isolated in their own situation.
  4. The facilitator will be skilled in leading support groups and knowledgeable about the types of dementia being discussed.
  5. What we do…ask questions and share frustrations/ hurt/sadness/joys.
  6. If you are not comfortable sharing your personal situation, you are more than welcome to “listen and learn.” Many people find it difficult to share what is happening in their lives…. that’s perfectly OK.
  7. Through the discussions you will learn new coping skills that will simplify your daily routines and hopefully reduce your stress levels.
  8. Improving communications and understanding behaviors are a major part of the discussions each month.
  9. You as a caregiver will be encouraged to also take care of yourself so you don’t burn-out in caring for your loved one.

Not everyone is comfortable in attending a support group.  If a monthly face-to-face group is not for you, there are numerous telephone and internet support groups available.  Just make sure you have found a reputable facilitator or organization that will be of help to you and not a burden.

I am currently facilitating 7 support groups in the greater Providence area and one in Massachusetts. Through my work as Director of Education with an Alzheimer’s Association in New York State and my role as Senior Director for numerous memory-care assisted living communities for Benchmark Senior Living, facilitating support groups is a natural pathway for me to be able to assist families.  It is so rewarding to know that family caregivers are leaving our monthly support group meetings with new knowledge and new skills to assist their loved ones – whether their loved one is at home or in a memory-care community.

I’ve listed below the specific support groups that I am currently facilitating.  If you are considering joining a support group, please take a look at the schedule to see what group might be near you (if you are in RI or MA).  I am also available for phone or e-mail consultations for those of you who live out of the area.

If you give a support group a try, you will definitely benefit from it.


First Tuesday           Brookdale East Bay – East Providence              6:30 – 8:00

1440 Wampanoag Trail

FTD ~ Open Group      Frontotemporal Dementia


Second Tuesday     Briarcliffe Gardens – Johnston                           4:30 – 6:00 pm

49 Old Pocasset Road

Alzheimer’s Specific ~ Closed Group

Second Wednesday    Wingate on Blackstone Blvd. – Providence          6:00 – 7:30 pm

353 Blackstone Boulevard

Alzheimer’s Specific ~ Open Group

Second Thursday        Brookdale West Bay, Warwick                                6:30 – 8:00 pm

2783 West Shore Road

Alzheimer’s Specific ~ Open Group


Third Monday             Brookdale Smithfield                                                4:30 -6:00pm

171 Smithfield Avenue         BEGINNING AUGUST 15, 2016

Alzheimer’s Specific ~ Open Group

Third Tuesday             Heritage Hills Nursing and Rehab. –  Smithfield         6:00 – 7:30 pm

80 Douglas Turnpike

Family Support Group ~ Open Group

Third Wednesday       Atria Lincoln Place – Lincoln                                       6:00 – 7:30 pm

612 George Washington Highway

Alzheimer’s Specific ~ Open Group

Third Thursday    Whitcomb House – Milford, MA                                      6:00 – 7:30 pm

245 West Street

Alzheimer’s Specific ~ Open Group


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  1. Great article!
    Sometimes there is nothing better than a support group to help people not only learn more about their situation but also to get that much needed peer support. Thank you for trying to keep these important issues in the forefront of the elderly care discussion.

    • Thank you for your comments. I am currently facilitating 8 monthly support groups and it is evident how helpful support groups can be for caregivers, no matter what the issue they may be facing. Sharing and learning go hand in hand, so those with a little more experience can be of great help to others.

  2. I’m currently under a certain organization as a volunteer which deals with support groups and this page gives courage to encourage people to come and attend support groups .Thank you

    • Thank you for your response to the “Importance of Support Groups.” I’m glad you found it to be helpful.

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