Best Dementia Support Groups

Find the right community

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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.

The 7 Best Dementia Support Groups of 2021

Best Overall : Alzheimer’s Association


The Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: In-person, video, and online meetings
Why We Chose It

The Alzheimer’s Association offers support for caregivers, people with dementia, and others living with Alzheimer’s disease (and other forms of dementia) through a variety of resources and meetings all over the country.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free of charge

  • Support groups and meetings offered in several locations

  • Online community and virtual meetings

Cons
  • Some local chapters not currently phone or online support groups

Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60% to 80% of all dementia cases, and it is estimated that 6.2 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 and online 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)

  • Membership fee: Most groups are free, some may collect voluntary donations
  • Structure: Online, phone, video conferencing
Why We Chose It

The Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) offers several types of virtual groups that support families and provides valuable and trusted resources and information.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Active Facebook support groups

  • Offers support groups specifically for spouses

Cons
  • Support groups not available in all states

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 : Family Caregiver Alliance


Caregiver’s Alliance

Caregiver’s Alliance

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Email-based discussion group, online, and video (Zoom) 
Why We Chose It

The free, online community offers support groups specifically for family members and loved ones, including one for LGBTQ+ caregivers.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • LGBTQ+ support group available

  • Phone support group in Spanish

  • Support group specifically for family caregivers under the age of 40 available

Cons
  • No in-person meetings offered right now

  • Young Adult Caregivers Support Group open to Bay Area participants only right now

Family Caregiver 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. Family Caregiver Alliance also offers an LGBT Community Support forum for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender caregivers.

Family Caregiver 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)

  • Membership fee: Free (fee for certain classes)
  • Structure: In-person and online support groups, fitness classes
Why We Chose It

The American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) provides a variety of support groups and resources for Parkinson’s disease patients and their family members and caregivers.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Network of local chapters and virtual events

  • Resources created specifically for veterans and first responders available

  • Fitness and dance classes on YouTube and via Zoom

Cons
  • Fees for some classes (but minimal)

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

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Virtual meetings, one-on-one mentoring online activities
Why We Chose It

Led by mentoring volunteers who have been diagnosed with dementia themselves, Dementia Mentors provides opportunities for people with dementia to socialize with others.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 46 gatherings per month

  • Online activities

  • One-on-one mentoring sessions

Cons
  • Currently no in-person meetings

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

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Social media platform
Why We Chose It

A welcoming and supportive community, Memory People provides an inclusive space for people living with dementia, along with their caregivers, family members, and other loved ones, to interact with others.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Huge community

  • No separate support groups—people with dementia interact with others, caregivers, loved ones, and family members

  • Only members can see posts

Cobs
  • Facebook account required

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 23,500 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

  • Membership fee: Free for support groups; around $425 for summer youth camp 
  • Structure: In-person and virtual meetings, day camps
Why We Chose It

The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin provides support, resources, social gatherings and community for people with dementia, their caregivers, and family members in Wisconsin.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Several programs available

  • Support groups for family and friends

  • Day camps to help kids gain knowledge, coping skills, peer support

Cons
  • Local only

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, Meeting of Minds, 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 $425 for the summer youth camp as well as a free day camp.

Final Verdict

Living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia or caring for a person with dementia can feel lonely and isolating. Dementia supports groups—for both patients and their family members, caregivers, or loved ones—can help provide the care, community, and social interaction you need to cope with the daily stresses of living with dementia. 

With support groups, whether in person or online, you can share feelings, coping techniques, and exchange information and resources on dementia. Support groups are judgment-free zones that provide a safe space for you to express emotions or get advice. Most support groups are free of charge and many offer sessions, meetings or “memory cafes” (social gatherings that allow people experiencing memory loss and a loved one to connect) virtually, so you can receive and give support from the comfort of your own home.

Compare The Best Dementia Support Groups

Company Membership fee Structure
Alzheimer’s Association
Best Overall
Free In-person, video, and online meetings
Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA)
Best for Lewy Body Dementia
Free, some group may collect voluntary donations Online, phone, video conferencing
Family Caregiver Alliance
Best for Caregivers
Free Email-based discussion group, online, and video (Zoom)
American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA)
Best for Parkinson’s Dementia
Free, fee for some classes In-person and online support groups, fitness classes
Dementia Mentors
Best for Mentorship
Free Virtual meetings, one-on-one mentoring online activities
Memory People
Best Social Media
Free Social media platform
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin
Best Local
Free for support groups; around $425 for summer youth camp In-person and virtual meetings, day camps

FAQs

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. 

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.

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4 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. Szczepańska-Gieracha J, Jaworska-Burzyńska L, Boroń-Krupińska K, Kowalska J. Nonpharmacological forms of therapy to reduce the burden on caregivers of patients with dementia-a pilot intervention studyInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(24):9153. Published 2020 Dec 8. doi:10.3390/ijerph17249153

  2. Alzheimer’s Association. 2021 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. 2021.

  3. National Institute on Aging. What Is Lewy body dementia? Updated June 27, 2018.

  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Parkinson's disease and dementia.