Award Date: 2018
Project Lead(s): Lisa Benaim, Social Worker
Project Title: Caring for Your Loved One: Virtual Psychoeducational Support Group for Adult Children of People Living with Dementia in the Community
What is the issue?
Many adult children who care for parents with dementia are unable to attend in-person support groups. They are very busy with caregiving and work responsibilities. Caring for Your Loved One is a program at Baycrest that provides psychosocial support for adult children of people living with dementia.
What did we do?
We evaluated the feasibility of adapting Caring for Your Loved One to a virtual format using Zoom video software. We conducted a pilot study of six sessions for group facilitators and 12 caregivers. Participants completed online surveys before and after using the program. We evaluated their satisfaction and comfort with the technology and whether it helped caregivers better manage their caregiving responsibilities.
What did we find?
The virtual format for providing a support group was feasible. All caregivers who started the program completed it and answered the surveys. They reported that the program increased their knowledge and their awareness about helpful resources. Facilitators said that the virtual groups helped them understand caregivers’ issues, built strong relationships, and increased caregivers’ access to resources. We identified a few areas of improvement that will inform our plans to scale up the program. We plan to share it with other organizations and other older adult populations.