Find 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

Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Support Group

Our support groups have been designed for individuals who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregiver or significant other.

Criteria for participation include:

  • A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Received the diagnosis before age 65
  • In the mild stage
  • Have a significant other or caregiver who is willing to participate in the caregiver support group (*optional)

The purpose of the Early Onset Alzheimer’s Group is for those with Alzheimer’s disease to share thoughts and feelings with others who are going through a similar experience. The purpose of the Caregiver Group is to provide support, validate the difficulties associated with caregiving, address the emotional challenges, and implement coping skills. Additionally, we will provide education on neurodegenerative diseases and discuss new developments and research in the field.

Location:
UCSF Memory and Aging Center Clinic
1500 Owens St., 3rd floor Neurology Clinic
San Francisco, California
map

Availability
Groups occur twice a month

For more information, please contact

 

FTD Adult Children Telephone Support Group

The UCSF FTD Adult Children Telephone Support Group is for the adult children of people diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Individuals from across the country are welcome to join the facilitated discussion by telephone. Please contact the group facilitator for the toll-free call-in number and any additional information. The support group is free.

Availability
Monthly, on each third Thursday
5–6:30 p.m. (Pacific Time)

For more information, please contact Jamie Fong, MS, CGC, at 415.476.8613 or Jamie.Fong@ucsf.edu.

 

FTD Caregiver Support Group

The UCSF Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) Support Group is designed to provide support and education to the families of people with FTD and related neurodegenerative diseases (such as progressive supranuclear palsy or corticobasal degeneration). This support group specifically addresses the needs of FTD caregivers whose concerns are often different than those of Alzheimer's disease caregivers. The format is informal with open discussion, as well as occasional speakers. Caregivers and family members of UCSF and non-UCSF FTD patients are invited to attend. The support group is free, and no reservations are needed to attend.

Location
UCSF Neurosciences Clinical Research Unit (NCRU)
Sandler Neurosciences Center
675 Nelson Rising Lane, Room NS 130/140
San Francisco, California
map

Participants should check in with the security guard, enter through Room 130 and have a seat in the waiting room.

Availability
2017 Summer Schedule:
August 24 meetings only (no meeting August 10), 12:30–2 p.m.
Resuming regular schedule in September (twice monthly on the second and fourth Thursdays, 12:30–2 p.m.).

For more information, please contact Robin Ketelle, RN, MS, at 415.514.2058 or Robin.Ketelle@ucsf.edu.

 

Huntington Disease Support Group

The Huntington Disease Support Group welcomes affected individuals, at-risk individuals, family members, loved ones, friends and caregivers. This support group is designed to offer support and education in a caring, safe and relaxed environment.

The format is informal, with occasional guest speakers invited to share their knowledge of medical management, research and resources. The support group is free and no reservations are needed to attend.

Location
Westminster Presbyterian Church
240 Tiburon Blvd., First Floor
Tiburon, California 94920

Availability
Monthly, on each third Thursday
7:30–9:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact Andrea Zanko, MS, CGC, at 415.476.9320 or ZankoAndrea@gmail.com.

 

Huntington Disease Caregiver Support Group

This Huntington Disease Caregiver Support Group is run by one of the MAC’s clinical social workers and happens the fourth Tuesday of each month in the East Bay.

Location
1111 Navellier Street
El Cerrito, California

Availability
Every 4th Tuesday
7–8:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact Natasha Boissier, LCSW, at 415.476.2904.

 

    Mild Cognitive Impairment Care Partner Support Group

    The Mild Cognitive Impairment Care Partner Support Group provides a safe environment for families and friends of persons diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to share their experiences and receive support from others coping with MCI. Walk-ins welcome. Free of charge. This group is co-sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association and UCSF Memory and Aging Center.

    Location
    UCSF Mission Bay Campus
    Sandler Neurosciences Center
    675 Nelson Rising Lane, Room NS140A
    San Francisco, California
    map

    Participants should check in with the security guard, enter through Room 130 and have a seat in the waiting room.

    Availability
    Monthly, on each second Tuesday
    6–7 p.m.

    For more information, please call 800.272.3900 or check www.alz.org.

    Therapeutic Movement Class for Patients

    Improve your emotional health through gentle stretching, breathing and releasing of stress and tension from joints and muscles.

    Location
    UCSF Memory and Aging Center Clinic
    1500 Owens Street, Suite 320
    San Francisco, California

    Availability
    Class starts Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017
    10–11 a.m.
    Dates for the eight classes will be provided upon sign up

    For more information, please contact Cathy Wang, ASW, MSW, at Catherine.Wang@ucsf.edu or 415.353.3014.

     

    Caregiver & Dementia Support Groups

    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.