Alzheimer's Support Group for Spouses

Posting for a dear friend who is overwhelmed by the accelerating decline in her husband.  He was diagnosed with dementia, likely Alzheimer's, about 18 months ago, in his late 60s.  My friend desperately needs a support group.  She specified that she would like a group for spouses, feeling that while there are similar caregiver issues for people dealing with parental dementia, she would like support around the deep grief involved of losing a partner of so many decades.  Please respond only if you know of such a specific group. I have a long list of organizations to contact (including East Bay Alzheimer's Services, the Alzheimer's Association, JFCS, Alameda Court, and so on) and I am doing so, but I thought this group might have personal experience with this issue. Please feel free to contact me directly here, which might expedite the search for a group for my friend.

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My mother got dementia in her early 60s and the experience was, of course, horrible. Your friend is lucky to have you do this research on her behalf. It is a completely overwhelming experience for everyone involved and it hard to figure out where to start and where to get help. 

My parents lived in another region of the country but the Alzheimer's Association offices in both areas (there and here) have helped my family members immensely. It is the kind of organization that makes you marvel that there are institutions/organizations that actually work and that there are helpers in the world. I think this country's health care system has left us all in an ongoing state of weariness about pursuing care but my experience with that organization left opposite impression. I wish we had contacted them earlier in the process.

There are many ways that the organization helps you but connecting you with a local support group for caregivers is one thing they do very well. My father is still (10 years later and after my mother has passed) in contact with his Alzheimer's Association caregiver support group peers. He also met privately with a social worker there to help him sort through his needs. Years ago, I called the local Alzheimer's Association (in Walnut Creek, I believe) in desperation because I didn't know how to help my parents from here in the bay area, and they were on the phone with me for a long time offering assistance and laying out the process and giving suggestions on what is available to me and to them. It is all free. I do not know of the other organizations you listed, but I can highly recommend just putting in a call to the local Alzheimer's Association, it is a frictionless way to start the process. Good luck.

There is a wonderful organization located in Davis called YoloCares. They do have a support group and even classes for spouses of those with dementia. I don't know if these classes are open to anyone or only to current clients (they have an adult day program, among many services). I think it would be well worth a call to them; their contact information is: