Award Date: 2018
Project Lead(s): Donna Margles
Project Title: Virtual Psychotherapeutic Group for Caregivers of Persons with Dementia Attending an Adult Day Program
Baycrest Adult Day Program and the Koschitzky Centre For Innovations in Family Caregiving have identified virtual support groups as the next area of expansion to address the growing needs of caregiver stress for dementia clients and their families. The goal of this pilot project is to provide virtual support groups for the spouses and adult children as presently they are unable to attend face-to-face groups due to either work or caregiving responsibilities. Through partnering with the Ontario Telehealth Network (OTN), this mode of intervention will offer a flexible and secure platform. The groups will be social worker-led 10-week sessions with the option to continue as a self-help group after the 10-week intervention is completed. The groups will focus on self-reflection and understanding the impact of the caregiver’s emotions on cognition and behavior. The group offers its members an opportunity to feel understood and connected to others dealing with similar issues. This group model has the unique ability to transform their connections from a clinically based encounter to real friendships that become invaluable supports as cares continue in their journey. The main objective of this project includes evaluating the efficacy of this virtual intervention on caregivers. Finally, this project will result in a best-practice intervention modality for dementia caregivers and will be scaled to other organizations and other older adult populations through the development of a manualized intervention.