The 7 Best Dementia Support Groups of 2020

Find the right community

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First Look

Best Overall: The Alzheimer’s Association

"The Alzheimer's Association is dedicated to addressing the needs of people with all types of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s disease."

Best for Lewy Body Dementia: Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA)

"The Lewy Facebook Support Group offers virtual (Zoom based) online meetings for anyone living with Lewy body dementia."

Best for Caregivers: Caregiver’s Alliance

"It offers support groups that help caregivers alleviate stress and get advice from others in the same profession."

Best for Parkinson’s Dementia: American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA)

"The APDA offers a nationwide search page to find local, in-person support group meetings for people living with Parkinson’s disease and their loved ones."

Best for Mentorship: Dementia Mentors

"The website offers private, one-on-one mentorship, as well as socialization via video chat."

Best Social Media: Memory People

"With over 21,000 members, the Facebook group is often described as a very warm and embracing community."

Best Local: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin

"Throughout Wisconsin, in-person meetings are offered as well, including support groups for adult children caring for parents with dementia."

Studies have shown that participating in a dementia support group can have a positive outcome on a person’s mental health while improving the quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers. Support groups offer a great opportunity to share with others in a caring environment. They can also be a good place to ask questions, get information about local resources, and learn new ways to manage the challenges of living with dementia.

Whether you are newly diagnosed, are in the early stages of the disease that causes dementia, or are caring for a person with dementia, finding the perfect support group is important. This can be challenging, however, since there is much to consider—for example, do you prefer meeting online or face-to-face?

What matters most is finding a community that meets your needs. We found the top dementia support groups so that you can show up and connect in a way that works best for you.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: The Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60% to 80% of all dementia cases, and it is estimated that 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older are living with the disease today. The Alzheimer's Association is dedicated to addressing the needs of people with all types of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association is a nonprofit that is considered an expert online resource offering information on just about anything a person with dementia needs to find out. In-person meetings offered by the group are available at a variety of locations across the country and can be found via its online search tool.

Offerings include peer- and professionally led groups for caregivers, people with dementia, and others dealing with Alzheimer’s disease (and other forms of dementia). There are also groups available for those with younger-onset and early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides in-person meetings, online groups, video support groups, gatherings that meet over the phone, and more. All options are free of charge.

Best for Lewy Body Dementia: Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA)

Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA)

Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA)

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is a condition involving abnormal protein deposits in the brain called “Lewy bodies.” These deposits affect normal brain chemical levels, which may result in abnormal thinking, movement, and behavior, as well as mood disorders.

The Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) offers several types of virtual groups, internet discussion forums, and more. Its Facebook support group offers virtual, (Zoom-based) meetings for anyone living with Lewy body dementia—even those who are not yet diagnosed but are seeking information.

If you're seeking a combined support group for people diagnosed with Lewy body dementia and their care partners, Living Together with Lewy is another Facebook group that is available. This one aims to help those who are newly diagnosed, people with early symptoms of the condition, and others who are seeking advice around a possible diagnosis.

Topics for the Living Together with Lewy support group include maintaining independence, working together on care decisions, and living well despite having LBD.

LBDA also offers an online support group if you have a spouse with Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) or Lewy body dementia (LBD): LBD Caring Spouses. 

Most support groups are free, collect voluntary donations, or charge only modest membership dues to cover expenses.

Best for Caregivers: Caregiver’s Alliance

Caregiver’s Alliance

Caregiver’s Alliance

Caregiver’s Alliance offers support groups that help caregivers alleviate stress, get advice from others in the same profession, and share information about community resources.

The free, online community offers a support group—which is not moderated—for family members, partners of people with dementia, and caregivers of adults with chronic, debilitating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and more.

You can send and receive email messages to interact during group discussions. Caregiver’s Alliance also offers an LGBT Community Support forum for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender caregivers.

Caregiver's Alliance also offers local support groups monthly only in the San Francisco area. One in-person meeting is specifically for Spanish-speaking caregivers, and the other is a general meeting for caregivers. You can send an email via the website for more information on where and when meetings are held.

Best for Parkinson’s Dementia: American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA)

American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA)

American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA)

Although the initial signs of Parkinson’s disease usually involve physical symptoms, problems with thinking such as forgetfulness and poor concentration may develop later. As time goes on, a person with Parkinson’s may develop dementia.

The American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) is a nonprofit that offers everything from an online community support forum called Smart Patients to an Ask the Doctor section aimed at answering any question or concern you may have.

The APDA offers a nationwide search page to find local, in-person support group meetings for Parkinson’s patients and their family members and caregivers. Fitness classes for people with Parkinson’s are available nationwide and, although there's a fee involved, the APDA can help those who need financial assistance.

There are also resources for those with early-onset Parkinson’s, veterans with Parkinson’s, Spanish speakers, and more. If you can’t find what you are looking for, there’s a toll-free number and more information on the APDA's website.

All of APDA's support group meetings are free except for the fitness classes.

Best for Mentorship: Dementia Mentors

Dementia Mentors

Dementia Mentors

Dementia Mentors is a unique type of online support resource for people living with dementia co-founded by Gary Joseph LeBlanc, who cared for his parents over a 20-year period while they were afflicted with the disease.

The website offers private, one-on-one mentorship and video chats to allow people with dementia the chance to socialize. All the services (including mentorship) are free. Mentors are volunteers who have been diagnosed with dementia themselves.

The primary goal of Dementia Mentors is to offer a social outlet via a supportive environment for those living with dementia. Mentorship can include fielding questions about living day-to-day and coping with dementia, sharing experiences, and other topics.

The organization also offers a service called a Memory Café, which the organization describes as an online social gathering for people with dementia. participants are free to talk about dementia during these virtual gatherings, but venting about emotions is not the primary focus. Dementia Mentors hosts around 26 meetings every month at various times during the day to serve people living in different time zones. You can request a mentoring session on the website.

Best Social Media: Memory People

Memory People

Memory People

There are many Facebook support groups that offer private, social media forums for people with dementia and their caregivers. Memory People is one that really stands out among the crowd.

With over 21,000 members, the group that's often described as a very warm and embracing community was founded by Rick Phelps, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Memory People welcomes people living with dementia, along with their caregivers, family members, and other loved ones.

One of the most interesting things about the community is that people with dementia do not engage in separate support groups for family members or caregivers: They all support each other by interacting together on the social media platform. It's a unique way for caregivers to learn from people with dementia that can ultimately help them provide better care.

At the same time, those with dementia can learn about what it’s like to care for a person with dementia, directly from caregivers and other family members. Topics of discussion include everything from sharing pictures of a recent holiday to dealing with some of the common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease such as sleep problems.

Group administrators, who will send you an email response message (a friendly welcome that will tell you more about the group and allow you to view the comments from other group members), will need to submit their approvals.

Note: Once you are a group member, your posts will only be seen by other members, not the general public. There is no fee required to join or participate.

Best Local: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin

The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin offers many supportive services for people with dementia, their caregivers, and family members. Although the nonprofit organization is primarily aimed at providing support for caregivers, there are many events, educational components, and sharing opportunities for just about anyone who has been affected by dementia.

There are monthly social gatherings called “memory cafes,” aimed at people with memory loss, mild cognitive impairment, early Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of dementia to connect with others. Another great opportunity for those with mild memory loss is the memory enhancement program, featuring storytelling groups and artwork discussion groups.

In-person meetings are sometimes offered as well, such as support groups for adult children caring for parents with dementia, communities for those caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, and more. These gatherings are held in various counties throughout Wisconsin.

If you are looking for a supportive service for a young person who has been affected by dementia or memory impairment caused by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or something else, the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance offers camps and local gatherings for teenagers and children who need peer support. Among the topics they'll learn about are coping skills.

All of the support groups are free to join. There is a one time fee of around $375 for the summer youth camp, but that can be waived upon request.

How We Chose the Dementia Support Groups

These dementia support groups were chosen by an expert in the field of Alzheimer’s disease who is familiar with online resources for people with dementia. The foremost consideration in selecting a suggested group was the credibility of the website—how long it’s been established, the experience of group moderators, and more.

Next, we looked at what type of groups are available: if there was an array of forums offered, including live virtual meetings, in-person meetings, and email forums. Groups for specific segments of the population—Spanish-speaking participants, people in the LGBTQ community, and others—were also considered.

Some communities were selected because they offered unique, supportive services that are often difficult to locate like mentorship. Overall, we chose a wide range of groups with standout services and a variety of ways to connect.

What Are Dementia Support Groups?

Dementia support groups are meetings that take place online (via a virtual meeting platform, such as Zoom) or in-person. They may also involve a forum, featuring posts or emails from members who send messages to share stories, ask questions, and more. 

Many online support groups use social media platforms to share information. The groups are all aimed at offering an opportunity for people with various types of dementia to receive and give support.

Several groups offer educational information about dementia and information about where to find community resources. Others primarily focus on encouraging members to share their experiences, support each other emotionally, and provide tips on how to handle day-to-day situations. No two groups are the same, but each one is focused on some aspect of living with a diagnosis (or an impending diagnosis) of dementia.

Is a Dementia Support Group Right for Me?

While there are many different types of dementia support groups, the goal is to offer people a place where they can feel connected to others who are going through similar experiences.

Most caregivers find that the biggest benefit they gain from support group meetings is feeling that they are not alone. Sharing experiences and trading support can be beneficial in many ways for people with dementia (and their family members and caregivers).

But informal support groups may not be for everyone. Some find that they need a more structured environment; professional help such as counseling or therapy may be needed (either in a group or individual setting). If participating in a dementia support group doesn’t feel like the right solution, a healthcare provider can offer a referral to a therapist, counselor, or other mental health professional.

How Are Dementia Support Groups Structured?

Dementia support groups are structured differently, depending on the group. Many are organized and led by a group moderator, someone who has had experience in the field (such as a dementia caregiver) but is not a paid professional.

A moderator welcomes new members, makes group announcements, and sends out information about the group (i.e. welcome email messages). After the moderator opens the meeting, each member of the group is usually given an opportunity for an introduction.

Group members are encouraged to discuss specific challenges they are experiencing and/or share stories or express emotions. But no one is forced to share information. The groups are structured to give members an opportunity to interact in their own way. Often, guest speakers are asked to join.

How Much Do Dementia Support Groups Cost?

Most of the support groups and other services on this list are free. Groups that charge a fee are usually those that employ professionals, such as social workers, fitness trainers, licensed counselors, etc.

Do These Groups Accept Insurance?

Insurance payments are not applicable for most of these groups because they are free. If a group is facilitated by a licensed professional, check with a health insurance provider to find out if the group or individual therapy service is covered. 

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Rebecca G. Logsdon, Kenneth C. Pike, et al. Early-Stage Memory Loss Support Groups: Outcomes from a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 65B, Issue 6, November 2010, Pages 691–697, https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbq054

  2. The Alzheimer's Association. "Alzheimer's Facts and Figures Report."

  3. National Institute on Aging. "What Is Lewy Body Dementia?"

  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Parkinson's Disease and Dementia."

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