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Alzheimer's support groups meet by phone

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has launched new phone-based support groups this week to help families coping with Alzheimer’s disease during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The groups will help people address issues such as increased family tensions and not being able to visit loved ones in nursing homes and other long-term care centers.

“COVID-19 continues to add stress to the already stressful task of being a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia,” said Charles Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president and CEO. “Support groups are an excellent way to relieve harmful stress that can contribute to burnout or other health problems for the caregiver.”

The new support groups are free and led by AFA’s licensed social workers.

“These new support groups will give family caregivers a safe, confidential outlet to voice their concerns and feelings, connect with others who are going through the same experience, and learn constructive ways to cope,” Fuschillo said.

Support groups for people who have a loved one in a care center are held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

Support groups to talk about stress and resolving conflicts are from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Fridays.

Register for a support group by calling the AFA’s national helpline at 1-866-232-8484.

People can call the helpline at any time for support and to ask questions about caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.

The line is staffed by licensed social workers trained in dementia care.

People can also get support via web chatting. See alzfdn.org and click on the blue and white chat icon in the right corner of the web page. The web chat system offers support in more than 90 languages.