header logo

Finding Family Caregiver Support Groups

Reviewed by  

“Join a support group.” It’s a standard recommendation for family caregivers for good reason. The benefits of support groups are plentiful. 


Support groups can:


  • Reduce feelings of isolation and depression

  • Increase connectedness, inspiration, and hope

  • Provide a healthy place to work through complex and conflicting emotions

  • Improve emotional and physical health

  • Reduce the risk of caregiver burnout

  • Provide practical tips that can make caregiving easier, safer, and more satisfying

  • Provide education and advice that improves your loved one’s quality of care 


Support groups come in so many shapes and sizes that there’s a good fit for almost everyone out there – but it’s not always clear how to find one. Finding the right family caregiver support group is key to reaping the best benefits, so let’s look at how.


4 Different Types of Support Groups To Consider


There are many different types of support groups available. Some support groups are held in person, while others take place over video conference or telephone. There are also text-based support groups that take place on message boards, social media, or over email.


Some support groups are aimed at the caregivers’ situations, for example for caregivers who are younger than average, LGBTQ+, or speak a particular language. Others are based on the care recipient’s situation, for example, their health condition or veteran status.


Other groups focus mostly on education about how to live well or support someone with a particular health condition. These groups may feel more comfortable with caregivers who resist the idea that they need a “support group” or who don’t think of themself as a caregiver. 


1. In-Person Support Groups

There’s nothing like being in the same space as another person for hugs, handshakes, and deep connection! In-person groups are a great way to find recommendations on local resources and services. However, transportation or scheduling issues can make in-person groups impractical. Since the pandemic, in-person groups have been less available, but they’re starting to come back.


2. Video Conferences

In terms of transportation, you can’t beat the convenience of video chat groups. They do provide a face-to-face experience in real-time, but there’s something about getting together in the same room that can’t be replaced. 


3. Telephone Groups 

Telephone-based support groups share the convenience of video conferences, although they lack the face-to-face aspect. They can be a good choice for those less comfortable with technology because they tend to be less glitchy or tricky to navigate.


4. Facebook, Email, and Message Board Groups 

Text-based groups lack the intimacy of in-person meetings, but they can still provide a good sense of community. 

They’re accessible any place, any time and without having to talk aloud, which is important for caregivers who can’t speak freely about their challenges in front of their loved ones


How to Find the Right Support Group


Not all support groups are the same. Whether you’re seeking a support group for yourself or a loved one, start by considering the following questions.


1. Will scheduling or transportation to an in-person group be a problem?

If so, opt for an online option.

2. Will it be helpful to have a reason to get out of the home?

In-person meetings can provide good motivation to get a much-needed break. Many people are less likely to get out without something specific on the calendar.

3. Would it be uncomfortable to speak on a video or phone call at home?

In-person meetings, online message boards, Facebook groups, or email groups might be a better way to go.


4. Is your situation, or your loved one’s condition, rare enough that few others are likely to live in your local area?

Online groups draw from a wider pool of people, so you’re more likely to find others in a similar situation. Condition-focused groups provide valuable education, practical tips, and empathy for those with specific challenges.  

5. Are you looking primarily for education, tips, and resources, or do you need emotional support, community, and an understanding ear to listen?

Most groups cover both to some extent, but some fall closer to one end of the spectrum or the other. 

6. Do you identify as a caregiver?

If not, look for a group with a greater focus on education and practical support for the condition or situation. 

7. Do you need help finding local resources or hearing about others’ experiences with local service providers?

In-person or locally-based virtual groups can be priceless for finding local resources, services, and professionals.

8. Do you prefer a larger group where you can sit back and listen/read or a small, intimate connection with fewer people?

In-person and online or phone-based options of all sizes exist. 

9. Do you need access to your support group on a non-traditional schedule? 

Message boards, email, and Facebook groups provide round-the-clock support. 

10. Are you more comfortable communicating orally or in writing?

In-person, video or phone-based groups may be more comfortable for those who prefer to talk. Readers and writers may prefer text-based groups.


If a group doesn’t feel right, try a few others to find the best fit for you. You can also join multiple groups at once.


Local or In-Person Support Groups


While most local groups meet in person, there are some email and virtual online support groups restricted to residents of a particular city or region. If you’re looking for a local support group in your community do any of the following:


Each of these organizations is a rich source of information about local caregiver resources in your area. Whether you’re looking for respite care, long-term care, home care, adult day care, legal help advocacy, or other caregiver support services, these are invaluable tools to turn to.


Caregiver Education Groups


Some people who assist their spouse or loved one with daily activities may not consider themselves to be caregivers, and may not feel comfortable attending a “support group”. 

Often led by experts, caregiver education groups can provide an alternative that focuses on providing education regarding the condition and still offers many of the same benefits as a traditional support group.

  • Ready Set Care's Care Community is a valuable forum where eldercare experts respond to your caregiving questions and fellow family caregivers of older adults offer support and guidance. Ready Set Care also offers a number of educational resources and tools. 

  • Adult Children of Aging Parents is a nonprofit organization offering educational information, caregiving and self-care resources, and a supportive community of other family caregivers

Online Caregiver Support Groups


There are countless caregiver support groups available online. 

Message Board Groups

    • The Caregiver Action Network provides several message board-based groups that focus on things like practical advice for new caregivers or dealing with caregiver depression, frustration, or isolation. There are also specific boards for caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson's, or COPD.


Email Based Groups

    • Caregiver Online Support Group is an email-based caregiver space where group members discuss the difficulties and rewards of caregiving for family members with chronic health conditions including, but not limited to, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
    • LGBT Community Online Support Group is an email-based platform for family caregivers who identify as LGBTQ+ to connect with others in similar situations.


Facebook Groups 

    • Memory People is a group for people living with dementia, their family members, caregivers, and professionals to share their journeys and helpful caregiving information.
    • Caregivers Hub Support Group is a place where family caregivers and professional caregivers support one another with an emphasis on a nonjudgmental atmosphere. 
    • Dementia Caregivers Support Group is a safe place for people caring for someone with memory impairment to learn, vent, and support one another.
    • Caring for Spouse with Dementia is a supportive group for those taking care of a spouse with dementia.
    • Caregivers Connect is an online community for caregivers of loved ones with any condition to share inspiration, resources, advice, and stories.
    • Caregiver Support Community welcomes family caregivers who are looking for a place to be kind, supportive, and respectful of one another as they care for a family member with any condition.
    • Caring for Elderly Parents provides family caregivers looking after their aging parents a space to find solidarity, support, and community with others in their shoes.
    • Working Daughter is a group for women who are balancing a career with the demands of taking care of loved ones.
    • Caregivers of Narcissistic Family Members is a place to share and discuss the difficulties of caring for a narcissistic loved one
    • AARP Family Caregivers Discussion Group is a safe place to share support, practical tips, advice, and experiences about taking care of a family member.


Condition-Focused Support Groups


Below you’ll find information about in-person and online groups focused on caring for a loved one with a specific condition. 

If your loved one’s condition isn’t listed here, search online for a support group for that condition or call their specialist or healthcare provider’s office for a recommendation.



    • ALS Association provides online or in-person support groups in every state for people living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease). 


    • American Cancer Society provides various online discussion boards for people living with or caring for someone living with a range of specific types of cancer.

    • CancerCare provides online discussion boards led by oncology social workers or video-conference groups for residents of New York and New Jersey. 

    • National Cancer Institute can connect you to numerous support groups via organizations for specific types of cancer.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

    • The Alzheimer's Association offers a variety of support groups for family caregivers (as well as some for individuals living with dementia). There are in-person and virtual options across the nation. Trained facilitators lead all sessions. 

Heart Disease and Stroke

    • The American Heart Association provides support groups for people living with or caring for a loved one with heart conditions or stroke.

Mental Health

    • National Alliance on Mental Health Family Support Groups are free, confidential support groups for family members of people with mental illness. Most are held in-person, but some virtual options exist depending on your location.

    • Courage to Caregivers is a nonprofit organization with the mission to “provide hope, support, and courage to caregivers and loved ones of those living with mental illness.” A counselor or social worker facilitates their virtual support groups, breathing meditation classes, and One-to-One Caregiver Peer Support Program.


Support Groups for Caregivers of Veterans

    • The VA Caregiver Support Program provides a Caregiver Support Coordinator who can connect you with federal, state, and local support of all kinds as you care for your veteran.

    • The VA Peer Support Mentoring Program matches experienced and vetted Mentors with interested caregivers to share guidance, perspective, and friendship.

How to Help a Loved One Who is a Family Caregiver


If you’re wondering how to support a loved one who’s caring for a family member you’re not alone. 


According to a recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, there are around 15 million family caregivers in the United States, most of whom are spouses. Many struggle to manage their caregiving duties along with their other obligations, much less meet their own needs. 


Among the best ways to support a family caregiver are to:


  • Ask what they need 

  • Listen to them attentively and without judgment

  • Arrange regular respite care or home care assistance

  • Encourage or enable them to access education and support

Many family caregivers (especially spouses) don’t think of themselves in those terms and are quick to dismiss any offers of assistance. 


An example of how to help in such a case is to:

1. Locate an online or nearby caregiver education class.

2. Present it to your loved one with an emphasis on how much it will benefit their spouse. 

3. Offer to stay with their spouse at home, or take them out for an outing while your loved one attends the class. (If you can’t do it yourself, arrange for a volunteer or home care aide to do so.)

The Benefits of Caregiver Support Groups


Caregiving for a loved one is tough, and no one knows that better than others who are going through it too. 

A good support group connects you with others who have been there. It creates a community of individuals who can lend an understanding ear, provide perspective, and offer practical suggestions for the real-life challenges you encounter navigating daily life as a family caregiver.

There are countless caregiver support groups out there, and each is unique. Finding the right fit for you isn’t always easy, but it is essential to getting the most out of the experience. 


Use the resources presented here to find a few support groups to try out. If one’s not a good fit, try another. Don’t hesitate to join a few at once. You’re doing a tough job. 


The right support can make a big difference not only in your own caregiving journey but ultimately in the care you provide to your loved one.

Laura Herman

An Elder and Dementia Care Professional with 23 years of experience working with seniors with dementia. She has served in a variety of roles ranging from front-line caregiver to memory care facility administrator. Her blog "ABC Dementia", or Appreciating Behavioral Communication in Dementia, focuses on helping professional and family caregivers understand and respond to behaviors in dementia.

No suggested articles was found for you

Get Personalized Answers

Still have questions after reading this article? Post our CareCommunity to get advice from out Nationally ranked experts