Two new support groups are being offered by the Alzheimer's foundation of America (AFA). The first is a Skype-based support group for college students caring for a parent, grandparent or other loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or a related illness. The second is a telephone-based support group for spouses of individuals with young-onset Alzheimer’s disease; this rare form of the disease, also referred to as early-onset, typically affects people under the age of 65 and as young as in their 30s.
The support groups will provide family members with a place to share their feelings, vent frustrations, learn new coping techniques and obtain information. Each group will be facilitated by one of AFA’s licensed clinical social workers.
“We are trying to reach all caregivers, especially underserved segments, to provide them with the support they need in a format that works for them,” said Carol Steinberg, AFA’s president. “There is no one-size fits all solution to Alzheimer’s caregiving, but there are common threads that caregivers share. Learning from one another and exchanging experiences can really make a difference.”
AFA’s eight-week support group for college students will take place via Skype on Tuesdays, from 2-3 p.m. EDT/EST, from October 15 through December 10. Session topics include balancing family, school and work; coping with the challenges of being a long-distance caregiver; family dynamics and changing roles; dealing with feelings; and strategies for self-care.
The group debuts in conjunction with the development of AFA on Campus, an AFA division that seeks to educate and engage college students.
For spouses of individuals with young-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the telephone-based support group will run for six weeks, on Mondays beginning November 4, from 3-4 p.m. EDT/EST. This group will explore issues of particular interest to this segment of the caregiving population, such as caring for spouses while raising children and the financial implications of a spouse’s unexpected early retirement, while also offering group members emotional support and an opportunity to exchange ideas with their peers.
For both groups, space is limited and registration is required. To register for either group, call AFA at 866-232-8484 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national non-profit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free hot line, staffed by licensed clinical social workers; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training, along with teen- and college student-specific divisions. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.