AFTD Staff Talks Virtual Support Groups on “NPR”



AFTD Support Services Manager Bridget Moran-McCabe, MPH, was featured in an NPR segment highlighting virtual support groups for families impacted by dementia amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moran-McCabe discussed how some FTD clinics that offer support groups have a seen a rise in participation since going virtual in the three-part segment “Virtual Caregiving: The Struggle to Find Support Over the Phone, Online.”

“Massachusetts General has a large FTD Center [and] the support group that is affiliated with that clinic, they’ve been getting up to 50 people a month,” Moran-McCabe shared in the interview.

She also described how FTD support groups led by AFTD-affiliated volunteers have had to adjust in the wake of the pandemic. She noted that many volunteer facilitators, themselves active FTD care partners, had to step away from leading their groups “because their [caregiving] role got so much more intense” due to the closure of adult day cares and other respite services.

Many AFTD volunteers, however, have maintained their roles in leading support groups for families impacted by FTD. While the pandemic has forced many to re-imagine what support groups look like and how they operate, AFTD volunteers have worked diligently throughout the past year to provide support services and resources for persons diagnosed and their caregivers.

For Brandon Feldt, virtual support groups have been a much-needed reprieve. Feldt, who provides fulltime care for his mother who has FTD, shared how he’s now able to participate in more support groups because they’re available virtually.

“Because I was just so busy,” he said in the segment. “Like I had 10 things to do and only had time to get eight of them done. I couldn’t add getting support on top of that…The increase of availability of these support groups allowed me to refocus on myself, take care of myself, and actually start to process some of the emotions that I set aside during that time when I was not able to process them.”

Listen to full NPR segment here.