Caregiver Support Groups

In 2015 it was estimated that approximately 43.5 million adults in the U.S. have provided unpaid care to either a child or another adult. That number increased to 53 million in 2020, as reported by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP.

Today, family caregivers represent over one in five Americans and that number continues to grow as the aging population increases, and more people are diagnosed with debilitating disorders that require daily care.

The 2020 report also revealed that caregivers are in worse health today than they were in 2015. A phenomenon commonly called “caregiver stress” results from the many tasks and responsibilities that caregivers take on when they step up to the plate to care for a debilitated loved one or a child with a chronic illness.

These statistics indicate that today there’s more reason than ever for caregivers to be aware of the need for self-care. One factor, found to improve the overall well being of caregivers, is the benefit of attending regular support group meetings. This article provides information on seven caregiver support groups to help you find one that’s right for you.

The Caregiver Action Network

The Caregiver Action Network (CAN) is a nationwide non-profit organization aimed at helping to support all types of caregivers, including family caregivers who are parents of children with special needs, caregivers helping wounded veterans, as well as caregivers for people with dementia and other age related debilitating disorders.

CAN specializes in providing education and peer support (via a large community of various caregivers) and resources to family caregivers. All of the services offered are free of charge.

CAN also offers a free help desk (via chat, email, or telephone) to answer any questions you may have about the organization, how to find a support group, or about specific caregiving challenges. Other methods of contacting the Care Support Team by phone is calling 855-227-3640 between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. EST. 

You can also access the Caregiver Action Network social media pages and join the organization’s Twitter or Facebook page. There is a forum for caregivers, a blog of caregiving stories, and a resource list of organizations and foundations that specialize in supporting all types of caregivers. You can find a list of local volunteers who provide advocacy training and education about various medical conditions.

The Family Caregiver Toolbox offers resources on everything from respite care to current clinical trials, as well as how to deal with depression, and more.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America

If you are caring for a person with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a place to get connected with a support group. The AFA specializes in providing educational and supportive services for people who are caregivers for a person with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related dementias.

The organization provides a National Toll-Free Helpline at 866-232-8484, staffed by licensed professional social workers, who are trained to provide answers to questions and point caregivers in the right direction (when looking for support groups and other services) via its 24/7 helpline.

Additionally, the AFA offers free weekly telephone support groups that are professionally facilitated by licensed social workers. AFA provides an opportunity to receive professional help in connecting and sharing with other caregivers across the country. 

The groups are held on Mondays and Thursdays, 7 pm–8 pm (EST). To register for a caregiver support group, call the AFA’s National HelpLine from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekends.

The Alzheimer’s Association

If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association offers a range of support groups in many geographic areas in the U.S. The groups are run by trained facilitators and all support groups are free of charge.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides education and support to people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Through their nationwide network of local offices, the organization offers in-person, caregiver support groups across the country. The groups are facilitated by trained individuals.

You can use the search tool to enter your location and find out when and where a meeting is taking place near you. If you need help navigating the website or finding a local meeting, you can call the 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900

Working Daughter

When a person takes on the many tasks of caregiving while holding down a part-time or full-time job, the juggling act can be a real challenge. Working Daughter is a website as well as an online Facebook-based support group for working daughters who are caring for their elderly parents (or other care recipients).

After caring for each of her elderly parents while working a marketing executive, Liz O’Donnell founded Working Daughter to help other working daughters balance their work and family lives with caregiving.

O’Donnell also wrote “Working Daughter: A Guide to Caring for Your Aging Parents While Earning A Living," a book for caregivers trying to hold down a job, care for their own family, and take care of an elderly parent.  

There's also a free, private Facebook support group where you can connect with other working caregivers. To get access the Facebook group, you must sign up first. You can also listen to the Working Daughter Podcast

Family Caregiver Alliance

Family Caregiver Alliance is Caregiver.org’s online community for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals. The group features online chat via an email format. Once you sign up, you can send and receive emails to other caregivers in the LGBT community 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

You can ask questions, get support from other group members, or share your ideas and strategies on what has worked for you as a caregiver. The idea is for members to share experiences and help each other solve the many challenges of daily caregiving, whether you are caring for a child with special needs, taking care of an elderly family member, or a partner who has become disabled and is in need of ongoing care.

Once you subscribe to the list you can post messages by using this email address: lgbt-caregiver@lists.caregiver.org.

Parent to Parent USA

As a parent or caregiver who cares for a disabled child, you may share many things in common with others going through similar circumstances; but some challenges are specific to each child’s type of disability.

Parent to Parent USA is a non-profit organization that is aware of the unique challenges parents have when dealing with different types of disabilities. They created a free program that matches parents via a 1-to-1 support partnering relationship.

The match is made according to the type of disability each child has been diagnosed with. That way, caregivers can share information about specific resources and experiences, solve problems, and help to give and get emotional support. You can find local resources in your local community on the website, including how to sign up and a Spanish language version.

National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)

A caregiver who cares for a person with mental illness usually involves helping a person with schizophrenia or other types of serious and persistent mental illness. Learning about how to accept and cope with mental illness in a positive manner can be challenging. 

The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) is a national non-profit organization that offers a peer-led Family Support Group. The goal of the group is to support caregivers and family members of anyone who suffers from symptoms of a mental health condition.

The support groups offered by NAMI follow a very structured model in which facilitators are trained. The groups are 60 to 90 minutes in duration and meet every other week or monthly (depending on the location).

NAMI hopes to help group participants to become more empowered by sharing experiences with those who listen non-judgmentally. All groups are free of cost to participants. You can find a local support group near you on their website.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are caregiver support groups?

    Caregiver support groups are a place to learn more about caregiving (for various types of conditions), get and give emotional support, and share experiences. Each type of group is structured differently. Some offer telephone conference meetings, others take place online, via chat, or email, and the local meetings occur in-person. But all caregiver support groups are aimed at facilitating a connection between caregivers who can help each other along their journey.    

  • Is a caregiver support group right for me?

    No two people are exactly alike when it comes to the need for getting support. Some people feel at ease in a group, others become anxious when it comes to speaking in front of others, particularly strangers. That’s why there are different types of groups on our list.

    An online forum may work perfectly for those who express their feelings better in writing, whereas others really need to see (and sometimes hug) another human being. Caregiving can be a very isolating experience for some people, who may really need to socially interact with people in their support group meetings.

  • How are caregiver support groups structured?

    Each group has its own format, some are very structured, while others offer a more casual interactive approach. In general, the groups that are facilitated by a professional or a trained moderator will be those that offer more structure and peer-led groups may involve a more relaxed approach.


  • What do they cost?

    Each of the support groups on our list offer groups is free to join and free to participate in.

  • Do these groups accept insurance?

    For some groups, insurance payment is not applicable because they are free of cost. However, if you decide to check out professional individual counseling or group therapy, you may want to check with your insurance provider to find out if the service is covered.  

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  1. AARP and National Alliance for Caregiving. Caregiving in the U.S. 2020. doi:10.26419/ppi.00103.001

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