You have a very close relationship with someone who is either a non-relative living with dementia or a caregiver looking after someone with dementia. You might step in when the family cannot by for example going for walks, making meals, or accompanying your friend to the hospital.

The Close Friend Support

On your caregiving journey, you may encounter many different support systems and individuals—from medical professionals to other experienced caregivers. Through our conversations, we have collected the following resources to help support the questions or concerns you may have.



Estate planning 101: Decide who can make decisions

Preparing for the future is an important step for any adult. Documenting who you want to make decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to allows you to age the way you prefer while making the life of your caregivers easier.


How to have messy conversations as early as possible

It is not easy to talk about making plans for when you are older, what your end-of-life wishes are, or to bring up changes you have recently noticed. Listen to the tips and tricks of experienced social worker Jackie Herman to learn how to best approach these conversations.


Recognizing the signs of dementia

If you see more frequent and persistent changes in someone’s memory, social and emotional behaviour, language and/or familiar tasks, then it could indicate a potential dementia diagnosis. You may also use the Signs & Signal Journal (PDF) below to keep track of changes.


Ways to reduce your risk of getting dementia

Reducing your risk of developing dementia actually begins in childhood. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent dementia, a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet and vitamin B, an active lifestyle, and frequent social and cognitive engagements have all shown evidence to reduce the risks of dementia.


Dealing with change

In situations where realities are not aligned, it’s important to meet your loved one where they are at. Validating their feelings, acknowledging their question, and distracting them into an activity they enjoy are ways to make situations less distressing for your loved one. Understanding how the disease impacts the brain can help the care team separate behaviours that are part of the disease from the person they love.


Dealing with guilt as a caregiver

Caregivers often experience guilt, for example when they take a break for themselves or when feeling like they are not doing enough. However, your loved one would likely never want you to put yourself last all the time.


Supporting each other as a care team

Asking for help is uncomfortable and we don’t want to look weak. However, all caregivers need to recharge and focus on their own priorities at times. No one can do it alone. Others might want to help but don't know when or how. Dr. Christine Knight shares insights on inviting others into your care team.


Successful care teams: Tips from professionals

In their research and practice, these professionals have seen many examples of care teams. Here they share their insights on what makes a successful care team and how to best support each other in difficult and stressful times.


Healthy grieving along the way

Alzheimer’s and related dementias are progressive and degenerative diseases, there is no cure. As a caregiver, you will experience losses every day. These losses are ambiguous because you have the person physically present, but you’re losing them emotionally and psychologically. Allow yourself to find a way to grieve the losses along the journey in a way that feels right.


Messy Conversations Guide

Tips and tricks on how to navigate the messy and difficult conversations that you may wish to have with your loved ones.


Signs & Signals Journal

Notice the different signs and signals of dementia and recognize the patterns so you can help your loved one get the support they need.


Self-Compassion Worksheet

Identify how to treat yourself with the same care and support that you would give a friend who is struggling.


Memory Box Guide

Come together with your care team to share memories and create a collection of items to help you connect with your loved one.


Brain Banter Card Game

Create a safe space and strengthen your care team through meaningful conversations and moments of fun. Recommended to play with your forgotten caregivers (kids 10+).


Your Ripples Team

To create the best opportunities for success, you can assemble a team of other caregiver types to support you in your caregiving journey. Below are the caregiver types most directly associated with The Close Friend.

Can you identify who plays these roles on your team?

The Designated Director

The person taking on the majority of care and decision making for a loved one living with dementia.

The Protective Spouse

The person caring for their spouse or partner living with dementia.

The Forgotten Caregiver

The child or teen (under 18) who cares for a (grand)parent living with dementia.