Caregiver Support Groups

for Dementia Caregivers

The Support You’ve Been Looking For

Every caregiver’s journey is different, but we find support by sharing our experiences and challenges. D-CAN’s Dementia Caregiver Support Groups meet once a month for 60 minutes in an open forum style – where caregivers share their personal experiences and ask questions. There is no pressure to talk if you don’t want to. You can share as little or as much as you’d like to. Each group is led by one of our experienced Care Navigators/Educators who have 20+ years of experience in the dementia field and working with caregivers.

Six Locations to Choose From

We currently offer caregiver support groups at six locations: Becker, Long Prairie, Sauk Centre, St. Cloud, Staples, and Wadena. We are looking to start a new in-person support group in rural Benton County and a virtual support group in the coming future.

Becker Caregiver Support Group

Meets the fourth Wednesday of each month
10-11 am

Becker Community Center
11500 Sherburne Ave
Becker, MN 55308

 

Long Prairie Caregiver Support Group

Meets the forth Tuesday of each month
2 – 3 pm

Long Prairie Great River Regional Library
42 3rd St N
Long Prairie, MN 56347

Sauk Centre Caregiver Support Group

Meets the first Tuesday of each month
10-11 am

Alternative Senior Care
418 10th Street South
Sauk Centre, 56378

2024 Schedule

2024 Schedule:

January 2nd
February 6th
March 5th
April 2nd
May 7th
June 4th
July 2nd
August 6th
September 3rd
October 1st
November 5th
December 3rd

St. Cloud Caregiver Support Group

Meets the third Tuesday of each month
10-11 am

Dementia Resource Center Clinic
3701 12th St N, Suite 103
St. Cloud, MN 56303

2024 Schedule

2024 Schedule:

January 16th
February 20th
March 19th
April 16th
May 21st
June 18th
July 16th
August 20th
September 17th
October 15th
November 19th
December 17th

Staples Caregiver Support Group

Meets the fourth Tuesday of each month
9-10 am

Faith Lutheran Chuch
430 12th St. NE
Staples, MN 56479

 

Wadena Caregiver Support Group

Meets the fourth Tuesday of each month
11 am – 12 pm

Immanuel Luthern Church
403 2nd St SE
Wadena, MN 56482

What to Expect

If there are new caregivers in the group, we start by asking everyone to introduce themselves and share their connection to dementia if they are comfortable sharing. If it is a smaller group, we may also include an icebreaker question, such as what your favorite or least favorite part of the Spring season is. If we do not have any new participants, we will open the support group by asking if any caregiver has something they would like to share.

If we have a large group with new participants, the introductions can take time, so the group often naturally starts its own conversations, commenting on other’s introductions, asking questions, or sharing advice with each other based on the introductions. If an organic conversation doesn’t happen, the facilitator will often point out similarities of each introduction and ask the group how they handle or respond to a situation. Caregivers openly share their experiences. Providing encouragement and strength to each other.

Many caregivers come to the group wanting to meet someone else in a similar situation because caregiving can feel like a lonely job. So, the topics and questions flow and change due to the different dynamics of each group. But common subjects that come up are wanting to learn more grace and patience, bathing and grooming concerns, and the lack of initiation from the person with dementia, increasing caregivers’ responsibilities. 

In addition, our facilitators have more than 20 years of experience and will share advice from their professional and personal experience with caregiving and dementia. 

What Caregivers Say About the Groups

Hear what these caregivers had to say about their experience with D-CAN’s caregiver support groups. Plus, we enjoy seeing the many friendships that have grown beyond the support group. Caregivers will exchange numbers and meet up outside of the group.

“It is a relief to share what is going on in my life with people that understand.”

“This is my support and time for myself as a caregiver.”

“The people in this group have become my friends.”

 “It is nice to have a place to share my feels.”

“Now, I don’t feel so alone.”

Learning From Each Other

One of the beautiful things about support groups is that participants learn so much from each other. Like, this caregiver from St. Cloud who shared a recent personal experience and tips. Her husband had declined which required him to be placed in a facility. She shared with the group the five things she learned during his recent decline and move to a facility.

“Lessons Learned from Caregiver”

  1. Pay attention to medications. Especially if your loved one takes them on their own. MY loved one had a significant decline, probably due to lake of meds. (I didn’t realize he wasn’t taking all of his medications as directed.)
  2. If you need to go to the emergency room, plan for a long time in which you will not be able to leave the room. Pack water bottles, snacks, phone charger, something to keep you occupied and wear warm comfortable clothing. You will sit on a folding chair for hours. Eat first, if it is not life threatening.
  3. Find a person who has medical training and who you can call when you are bewildered. Sometimes you will just need someone to guide you.
  4. If someone offers you a walker or wheelchair, take it even if your loved one doesn’t use one. After a fall, you will be grateful.
  5. Have a list of people you can call for assistance if your loved one is declining.

Facilitators

Our groups are facilitated by experienced Care Navigators/Educators with more than 20 years of expertise in dementia care and supporting caregivers.

Tami Kolbinger

Tami Kolbinger

BS, ADC/MC, CDP, CADDCT

Read Tami's Bio

I am so thrilled to become the first care navigator/educator for D-CAN at the new Dementia Resource Center.  I look forward to continuing my work and passion in helping people diagnosed with dementia and their care partners and helping to educate and provide resources to those whose lives are affected by dementia.

Tami has worked on the front lines of dementia care for 14 years in socialization, education, and consulting for people living with dementia in memory care, assisted living, and long-term care community settings. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner, and a Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Trainer. She is a trained support group facilitator. She was the Co-chair for the St. Cloud Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s for two years, the lead for Act on Alzheimer’s in Becker, MN, a regional member of the Act on Alzheimer’s (Central Minnesota) group, and President of the Becker Area Senior Center Board. She was a care partner for her father for five years on his journey with Alzheimer’s disease and is currently a caregiver for her father-in-law on his journey with Parkinson’s.

 Cristina Rodriguez

Cristina Rodriguez

CDP, CADDCT

Read Cristina's Bio

Cristina has worked and advocated for those living with dementia and their care partners for over 20 years in care planning, socialization, education, and consulting. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner, and a Certified Validation Associate, as well as a Dementia Champion of Minnesota. She is currently a local Dementia Support Group Facilitator. She was involved for over 10 years the Co-chair for the St. Cloud Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s for two years. Cristina has sat on many local Alzheimer’s and Dementia related community boards. She has a personal connection with dementia, as a current professional caregiver and family caregiver for her grandmother that is living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Disclaimer

D-CAN/DRCC and/or the support group facilitator are not offering any medical or legal advice. Anything shared by individuals within the group shall not be shared outside of the support group. If we meet outside of the support group, we will be respectful of the privacy of one’s dementia journey.

Funding Provided By

Caregiver Support Groups offered by D-CAN are funded under contract with Central MN Council on Aging as part of the Older Americans ACT Program.

Have questions?

We are here to answer your questions. Contact D-CAN.

Central MN Dementia Community Action Network

3701 12th Street North, Suite 103
St. Cloud, MN 56303

Call: (320) 640-6726
Fax: (320) 774-1238
Email: contact@dcan-mn.org
Hours: by appointment only

All content on this website is intended to be informational only and does not create a patient-client relationship and does not intend to constitute medical advice.