Where to Find Free Online Support for Dementia Caregivers

In this article...
  • Being a family caregiver for someone with dementia can be overwhelming and isolating. Learn where to find free online support for dementia caregivers.
A man uses his home computer while his wife looks over his shoulder

Where to Find Online Support for Dementia Caregivers

Rates of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia are on the rise. According to the Alzheimer's Association, about 5.8 million Americans are currently living with the disease, and that number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million by 2050. Alzheimer's disease makes up between 60% and 80% of all dementia cases in the United States, with the remaining cases consisting of frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, mixed and Lewy body dementia. 

The vast majority of those living with dementia receive care from their loved ones. Also referred to as family caregivers, these unpaid dementia caregivers often report that caring for a family member who has memory loss is exceptionally stressful.

Supporting a person with dementia can take a significant toll on the caregivers' emotional, physical and financial well-being, particularly given the progressive-degenerative nature of diseases such as Alzheimer's. In 2019, family caregivers provided an estimated 17 billion hours of unpaid dementia care, and the average dementia patient lives with the disease for four to eight years following their diagnosis. 

Who Needs Alzheimer's Caregiver Support? 

Being a caregiver can be rewarding and fulfilling, but it can also trigger feelings of resentment, grief, anger and fear. About 66% of unpaid dementia caregivers are women, and 25% care for an aging parent while also raising one or more children under the age of 18. 

If you're caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or another type of dementia, here are some signs you might need support:

  • You're in denial about the progressive-degenerative nature of dementia
  • You find yourself getting angry at your loved one because they exhibit unusual behaviors, or they need assistance with everyday tasks
  • You've withdrawn from activities you used to enjoy
  • You feel anxious and/or depressed 
  • You're fatigued
  • You can't concentrate
  • You're fearful about the future
  • You struggle to get enough rest
  • You're developing stress-related health issues

How Online Dementia Caregiver Support Can Help

Even though Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia are becoming increasingly common, dementia caregivers tend to experience feelings of isolation. This is largely due to the fact that people living with dementia often need constant supervision, and that makes it difficult for caregivers to access the support needed to prevent caregiver burnout. 

Online supports such as message boards, virtual counseling sessions and virtual caregiver group meetings make caregiver support accessible from anywhere, at any time. This allows caregivers to connect with professionals and peers in a way that fits with their job, home and caregiving duties, and that can go a long way towards reducing the feelings of isolation that come with being a dementia caregiver. 

Online dementia caregiver supports can also: 

  • Help caregivers connect with others who are experiencing similar circumstances
  • Provide caregivers with practical tips for dealing with dementia
  • Give caregivers access to information about government and community programs 
  • Allow caregivers to vent about their fears and frustrations
  • Offer caregivers a realistic idea of what to expect as the dementia progresses

Where to Find Online Support for Dementia Caregivers

Dementia caregivers can connect with a range of online support programs through the Alzheimer's Association. The Association hosts a free online community of caregivers and patients called ALZConnected which includes a caregiver forum and links to local resources. Forum members can chat with other dementia caregivers, learn about ways to manage their caregiving duties and get information about dementia treatments and coping strategies. 

Caregivers can also contact their regional Area Agency on Aging by calling 1-800-677-1116 to learn about online supports in their area. 

Other places to find online supports for caregivers include social media platforms such as Facebook and Inspire.com, a free online health community.