A support group is a regularly scheduled in-person or virtual gathering of people with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, family, friends or caregivers who interact around issues relating to dementia. Some groups meet monthly, others weekly, and they are free and open to anyone.Groups can have social, educational and/or support components and are facilitated by individuals who have received training from the Alzheimer's Association. This information is provided as a resource but is not intended as an endorsement of any one product or provider.
We have over 95 support groups in the Greater Michigan Chapter area, meeting at various times and locations. Check our support group listings to see if there is a group close to you that fits your needs. If you prefer, call our 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.
Support Group Announcements
- The Area Agency on Aging support group held in Grand Rapids will not meet Friday, April 14
Select the area that is closest to you:
Counties serviced in this area include: Arenac, Bay, Clare, Genesee, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Lapeer, Midland, Saginaw, Shiawassee
Counties serviced in this area include: Huron, Macomb, Oakland, Saint Clair, Sanilac and Wayne
Counties serviced in this area include: Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford
Counties serviced in this area include: Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon and Schoolcraft
Counties serviced in this area include: Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Osceola and Ottawa
All Counties Chapter -Wide Dial-In Support Groups:
- First Tuesday of the month from Noon – 1 p.m. Contact 248.865.1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Fourth Wednesday of the month from 6–7 p.m. Registration required prior to calling-in. To register or for more information call 800.272.3900
Note: Support group listings are updated regularly and are subject to change. Please call before attending to verify that your group is still meeting at the time, date and location listed.
- Caregiver Support Groups -- Most of our support groups are non-specific caregiver support groups, designed for anyone who is caring for a loved one with a diagnosis of dementia whether nearby or far away.
- Disease Specific Caregiver Support Groups -- Some support groups are disease specific, such as Lewy Body Dementia or Frontal Temporal Dementia. Indicated in the listing.
- Specific Audiences Support Groups -- Some support groups are designed for a specific audience such as Down's Syndrome, Male Caregivers, Adult Children, etc. Indicated in the listing.
- Younger-Onset Dementia Support Groups -- Support groups specifically designed for families with a loved one diagnosed under the age of 65. Indicated in the listing.
- Early-Stage Support Groups -- Support groups specifically designed for people in the early-stages of Alzheimer's or related dementias. Some groups welcome care partners, family members and/or friends. To preserve the early-stage status of the group, assessment conducted by an Alzheimer's Association staff member is required prior attending. This assessment is usually done over the phone. For more information call our 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.
Who attends support groups?
People of all ages, races, genders, education levels and backgrounds. Although many members join when they are feeling overwhelmed and uncertain, people who attend groups tend to be strong individuals who are looking to gain the best support available for themselves and their families and who want to learn about the disease, and prepare for the future. It also allows creates an opportunity for participants to help each other deal with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.
What is a group like?
Most groups meet once a month for 60-90 minutes and provide a combination of education and emotional support. A typical group starts with a facilitator(s) introducing him or herself and making announcements, and the members introducing themselves however they are comfortable doing so. A group may then follow-up with issues from the previous meeting, answer questions, provide educational information, or allow an open format for member discussion. Groups conclude in a variety of ways that vary from a deep breathing exercise or the facilitator providing handouts on topics discussed in the meeting to the telling of a ‘joke of the month’ or a ten minute coffee break for members to chat informally. Support groups create a safe, confidential, supportive environment or community and a chance for participants to develop informal mutual support and social relationships.
Why should someone attend a group?
While attending a group is not the solution for all, it can be a vital part of maintaining the health and well-being of both caregiver and patient. Groups provide vital education about managing dementia care that reduces stress for all involved. Research has shown that attending a support group can not only reduce caregiver stress but improve the functioning of people with Alzheimer’s, keep them living at home longer, and assist in managing difficult behaviors that may arise.
Many people don’t attend a group because they think they are depressing or someplace you go if you can’t cope. But the opposite is true! Groups help you cope. Studies have found that the least depressed caregivers attend a group. And group members themselves have often found that while the group is a good place to cry if you need to, it is also is a great place to laugh.
- Inclement Weather -- If the school district in which the support group meets is closed or cancels evening activities due to inclement weather, the support group will not meet. If in doubt, contact the support group facilitator indicated on the listing.
- Holidays -- If a support group's monthly meeting falls on a holiday, arrangements are usually made to hold the group on another week. Check the support group announcements section above for specific information.
- Other Cancellations -- Occasionally support groups will be cancelled due to venue or facilitator calendar conflicts. We encourage all facilitators to contact regular attendees with cancellations and will list them in the support group announcements section above as soon as possible.
The Alzheimer's Association is looking for confident, self motivated individuals to facilitate our support groups. Facilitators volunteer to lead or co-lead support groups, guiding group interaction focused on acceptance, active listening, empathy and assistance with problem solving. Facilitators are required to complete the Greater Michigan Chapter volunteer application, undergo a background check and complete a facilitator training course. The first step is filling out our volunteer interest form.
Facilitator training courses, conducted by Alzheimer's Association staff, focus on the fundamentals of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, group dynamics, unique challenges and concerns that arise in dementia specific support groups, group management and promotion, and group facilitator roles and responsibilities, as well as an overview of the programs and services of the Alzheimer's Association.
Facilitator trainings scheduled based on interest. If you are interested in becoming a support group facilitator, please click here to fill out our volunteer interest form.
Note: Facilitator training fee varies based on training location.
Facilitator Refresher Course
Current support group facilitators are encouraged to take part in a facilitator refresher course annually. This training is an opportunity to meet other facilitators, exchange ideas, successes and talk through difficulties with your peers and Alzheimer's Association staff contact. The training will also include refresher on Alzheimer's Association activities and policies.