Support Groups

adult helping senior in hospitalDon’t Carry the Burden Yourself

I like to think of my Caregivers as “Inspired Caregivers” because we focus on the Caregiver instead of the patient, offering a spiritual retreat from the 36-hour mental and physical responsibilities of caregiving.  I welcome ALL Caregivers responsible for a loved one regardless of the physical and/or mental illness because ALL Caregivers share so many common bonds.  Whether the patient has Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinsons, Cancer, PTSD or any other illness, ALL Caregivers face the same risks for potential burnout and emotional despair.

Julie facilitates Caregiver Support Groups on a regular basis. The groups focus on the empowerment and well-being of the caregiver.

Julie Cook Downing




Caring for a Loved One with Physical and/or Mental Illness

Date:  3rd Monday of each month
Time:  10:00 am – 11:30 am
Place: Doctors Hospital of Sarasota
Facilitator: Julie Cook Downing
Classroom outside the Cafeteria
5731 Bee Ridge Rd.
Sarasota, FL
Cost: FREE

We want to welcome you to our caregivers’ support group that focuses on you, the caregiver, offering a retreat from the never ending mental and physical responsibilities of caregiving. This free group provides compassionate support and an opportunity to explore new solutions together to caregiver challenges.

Doctors Hospital is home to the area’s only voluntary inpatient behavioral health program dedicated to the needs of adults. They offer specialized care to meet your unique needs in a private and spacious environment.

For more information, call (888) 685-1596.

FREE Monthly Veterans Lunch and Learn

Date: Every 3rd Monday
Time: 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Place: World-Renowned Dattoli Cancer Center, 2nd floor Education Center
2803 Fruitville Road, Sarasota FL 34237
Facilitator: Julie Cook Downing
Cost: FREE*

If you are caring for a family member/loved one who has served in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard during war or peace times, we want to support you.  Often when Guest Speakers participate, the Veteran Community is invited.

In this group you will:

  • Share sacred and confidential space with others having similar concerns and challenges
  • Have a relaxed retreat from the 36-hour mental and/or physical responsibilities of caregiving
  • Focus on YOUR survival as a caregiver
  • Discuss simple solutions, techniques and tools to ease caregiving responsibilities and challenges
  • Share resources that make caregiving a little easier and learn about Benefits for Veterans

Enter the west side of building to access the Education Center and proceed to second floor (elevator is available). Please do not park in the front of the building as those spaces are reserved for patients at the center. There will be director signs outside of the building day of event. Light refreshments will be available. Seating is limited.

*Event is FREE, however, you must pre-register by emailing your name and telephone number to OR call (941) 360-3580 and reference this support group.


For each monthly Support Group, Julie provides a focused, compassionate and realistic perspective with family Caregivers. There is a topic each month and the focus is on the Caregiver because the patients receive lots of attention.

Date: Every 3rd MondayJDRack30001
Time: 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Place: Brooksdale Palmer Ranch Senior Living Solutions
5111 Palmer Ranch Parkway • Sarasota, FL 34238
Registration: Call the Brookdale Palmer Ranch Receptionist (941) 926-1966
Cost: FREEJDRack40001

Autumn of Sarasota Free Educational Sessions

Every 3rd Thursday

Time: 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Place: Autumn of Sarasota, 3251 Proctor Road • Sarasota, FL 34231
Registration Required: Call (941) 444-9398

At each session, Julie Cook Downing is introduced as a one-on-one Family Caregiver Advisor/Advocate.

If you have caregiving responsibilities for a loved one with physical or mental illness, Autumn of Sarasota welcomes you to a group that is focused on YOU with compassion and realism.


To be informed of future events please visit our Contact Us page by clicking here.