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Get the emotional support you need

A support group is a regularly scheduled in-person or virtual gathering of people with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, family, friends or caregivers who interact around issues relating to dementia. Groups can have social, educational and/or support components and are facilitated by individuals who have received training from the Alzheimer's Association.

We have many support groups throughout Illinois, at various times and locations. Check to see if there is a group close to you that fits your needs. If you prefer, call our 24-hour Helpline at 800.272.3900..

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The purpose of Early Stage Support Groups is to provide a safe and supportive environment for people who are living in the early stages of dementia and their care partners. These groups offer dementia-related education, emotional support, and connections with resources.

ALZConnected® (alzconnected.org), powered by the Alzheimer’s Association®, is a free online community for everyone affected by Alzheimer’s or another dementia, including:

  • People with the disease
  • Caregivers
  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Individuals who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s

Thank you for your interest in becoming an Alzheimer’s Association Support Group Facilitator.

Alzheimer’s Association Support Groups are regularly scheduled in-person or virtual gatherings of people with Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders, their family, friends, or caregivers.

All Alzheimer’s Association support group facilitators attend a full-day training program that focuses on group dynamics, how to organize and sustain a successful support group, and Association policies and procedures.

Please review STEPS 1 to 4 to help you decide if you want to apply.

To apply for this training, the following steps must be compiled:

  • Read the prerequisites listed below. Please only continue with the application process if you meet the prerequisites
  • Read the policy statement below.
  • If you meet the prerequisites, and can comply with the policy statement, complete the online application process.

After you have completed the online application, you will be contacted within 7 business days to schedule a brief phone interview. After successful completion of the phone interview, you will be invited to a training in your area. The training is a one-day training held at one of our regional offices. We ask $40 to cover the cost of the background check and materials. If you have any questions, or if you submit your application and do not hear from us in 7 business days, please email Melissa Tucker at mtucker@alz.org.

  • At least 3 years’ experience in dementia care (personal or professional)
  • Solid knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  • Ability to commit at least a year of service to the group
  • Take the “Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: The Basics” online course
  • Willingness to undergo a criminal background check
  • If you have no previous experience with support groups: Association staff will arrange for you to observe at least two support group meetings, or to arrange a meeting with an experienced support group facilitator

Policy Statement: Alzheimer’s Association Support Groups

The Alzheimer’s Association, Illinois Chapter strongly encourages support group facilitators to hold their groups in community-based and independent living settings (i.e., adult day services, libraries, houses of worship, senior and/or community centers, and independent living settings) rather than in licensed residential care settings (supportive living, assisted living, intermediate and skilled care facilities).

There are several reasons for the Chapter’s stance on this issue:

  • More than 70 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease live in the community rather than in licensed residential care facilities. These data point to a need for support groups in community-based settings.
  • Groups based in licensed residential care settings tend to be led by professionals who work for the setting. With staff turnover it is difficult for us to assure consistency and continuity within these groups.
  • Groups based in licensed residential care settings may naturally fall into a pattern of discussing internal care issues, which is not the intent of Alzheimer’s Association support groups.

However, the Chapter realizes that in some rural communities, licensed residential care facilities may be the best or only available location for a support group. If, after consulting with the potential facilitator the Chapter determines that a facility-based group is warranted, an exception may be made to allow the group to meet in a licensed residential care facility. However, the lead facilitator may not be an employee of the facility or of any program, service or corporate entity that is associated with the facility. A facility staff person may serve as a co-facilitator, but the Chapter will consider the non-staff facilitator to be the primary contact for the group. This assures continuity of the group if the staff-based facilitator should leave his/her position within the organization.

In addition, the following criteria must be met:

  • The group cannot be used to market the facility or any of its programs, or any product or service.
  • The group must be open to the public and free of charge.
  • All members are made to feel welcome, regardless of age, sex, religion, race, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.
  • The group must be identified as an Alzheimer’s Association group in any promotional materials, and group members are made aware of the affiliation with the Alzheimer’s Association in each group meeting.

The Chapter reserves the right to disaffiliate a group for noncompliance with the above conditions.

The Alzheimer’s Association, Illinois Chapter very much appreciates the hard work and dedication of licensed care facilities, particularly those specializing in dementia care. The intent of this policy is to provide support group attendees, facilitators, and host sites alike with the most consistent and positive experience possible.

Create a volunteer profile and select Support Group as your area of interest. All of our affiliated support groups are led by volunteers who have been trained by the Association.

Alzheimer's Association

Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.