An Evaluation of Two Caregiver Support Group Programs

The project lead Renee Climans is standing next to artwork

Award Date: 2017

Project Lead(s): Renee Climans, Social Worker

Project Title: Combined Model of Caregiver Support and Care Recipient Engagement

What is the issue?

Caregivers of individuals with dementia have similar needs and concernsSupport groups may provide them with emotional support and help them with the challenges of caregiving 

What did we do?

We evaluated two support group programs called The Changing Relationship, and The Road to Connection. Both programs were designed for couples consisting of a partner caring for a spouse living with dementia. The Changing Relationship offered an in-person, support group for caregivers where they shared their experiences with others facing similar issues. The Road to Connection built on this concept and added a separate activity group for spouses with dementia. They took part in art and brain health activities for improving memory that were developed by experts at BaycrestBoth programs took place weekly for ten weeks. Two social workers led each caregiver session. An artist and a social worker led the arts and brain health sessions.  

What did we find?

Caregivers were very satisfied with the programs. They learned some helpful coping strategies and made improvements to their health, including increasing their physical, social, and cognitive activities. They benefitted from hearing about their peers’ experiences and felt less isolated. They all said they would recommend the program to friends and that they would participate longer if follow-up sessions were offered.