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Typical Alzheimer's support group meetings

Alzheimer's Disease Support Groups: Page 2

By , Caring.com contributing editor
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Who leads support groups?

It's helpful to know about the group leader's background. Groups are generally led by medical professionals, social workers, experienced caregivers, or volunteers who've been trained to lead support groups (and who usually have had firsthand experience with the disease). If the facilitator isn't a professional, ideally she should be sponsored, supported, or trained by a trustworthy organization such as the Alzheimer's Association or the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Facilitators should be able to wear several hats: They may lead discussions by introducing specific topics, may balance group members' opinions and advice with other perspectives, may teach or share useful information, and may offer reassurance and encouragement.

What happens at meetings?

Groups vary in their purpose, organization, and "feel." Some support groups are formal, with guest lecturers scheduled to talk about common topics of interest to caregivers, like managing problematic behaviors or financial planning. Others are informal, inviting members to share stories about their experiences and give one another moral support. Many groups use a combination of these approaches, alternating candid conversations among members with lectures from special guests