What kind of support is there for a person with Alzheimer’s?

Head to www.alzhope.com. That’s where people with Alzheimer’s can become part of a loving community, can post questions to others caring for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s and more.

Another good place is the Alzheimer’s Association’s website (www.alz.org). It has a list of programs offered, including for supporting individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Link from this nationally focused website to the appropriate local association. That will get the person resources closer to home.

Perhaps the most common support is an early-stage support group. These are sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association and are spreading around the country. These are primarily for the support of individuals who have just learned of their Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

An experienced facilitator guides the group in discussions about issues such as the meaning of the diagnosis, family dynamics and emotional issues, and financial and legal concerns. This is a place to express one’s deepest feelings in a safe place — with people who will identify and understand. These groups laugh, cry, eat and problem-solve together.

The groups meet once a month on average, typically for about an hour and a half. Someone from the Alzheimer’s Association will be able to judge individuals to determine whether the meetings would be a benefit to them. Meanwhile, family members have simultaneous meetings in their own special area (often in the same building).

Professional counselors, members of the clergy and home health agencies also are options for individuals’ support. You also can get in touch with the Alzheimer’s Disease Education & Referral Center (ADEAR) at (800) 438-4380 or www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimer’s, or the National Institute on Aging/Alzheimer’s Disease Information at www.nia.nih.gov or (800) 222-2225.