Virtual Counselling Helps Caregivers of People with Dementia

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Susana Braslavski, Social Worker

Project Title: Virtual counselling for dementia family caregivers

What is the issue?

There is a growing need for support and help with system navigation for caregivers and families dealing with the challenges of dementia affecting their loved ones, but attending sessions in person may be difficult for many.

What did we do?

We identified four caregivers of people with dementia through Baycrest’s Seniors Counselling and Referral Service. Social workers provided video conference counselling sessions through the Ontario Telemedicine Network. Each caregiver participated in virtual counselling sessions in the comfort of their own home.

What did we find?

Caregivers participating in virtual counselling sessions benefited by connecting with a social worker to help them manage some of the challenges associated with caregiving. They felt they could talk about the same issues that they would bring up at an in-person session. The online format of the sessions made it possible for caregivers who are usually unable to attend in-person meetings to access support, which resulted in feeling less isolated. Multiple family members were able to participate in sessions together from different locations.