The use of technology in many domains of our lives (from work to health) is increasing. Many resources and programs are now available online, and information and communication technologies are becoming effective supportive tools for caregivers (Montoro-Rodriguez & Gallaher-Thompson, 2020). This rapid growth has changed everyday life and made information technology a vital resource for many (Lindeman, Kim, Gladstone & Apesoa-Varano, 2020). Since the COVID-19 pandemic developed across the globe including North Carolina, we have been impacted by social distance practices, limited personal interactions, remote teleworking and digital telehealth. Therefore, it is not surprising that caregivers, educators, and health professionals are turning to technology to help dementia patients and their family caregivers to reduce their burden, stress, and depression and to preserve the quality of life.
Goals and Objectives:
The goals of this proposal are to offer ONLINE support programs for caregivers providing care across the lifespan to people of any age in Charlotte and North Carolina. More specifically, we aimed to accomplish the following three specific objectives:
- Provide caregivers in the community with information about COVID-19 to reduce anxiety by training them on how to be safe, contact medical and social professionals, keep in touch with community members, friends, and family. We will provide information about COVIS-19 throughout the program as caregivers attend the training sessions.
- Offer caregivers to participate on an evidence-based training program for caregivers (Coping with Caregiving – Telecare) to reduce stress and depression; improve management of care plan for care-recipient, and refresh communication skills. This technological-based cognitive behavioral program requires caregivers to attend four to six group sessions with a facilitator/ counselor via Zoom video conference platform. The program is design for caregivers providing care to people with chronic conditions, serious illness or disability, with special attention to underserved populations.
- Fostering resilience on a large scale by promoting Virtual Communities of caregivers. The objective is to develop short-term, cost-effective, strategies to provide ongoing support for caregivers and their families at the community level. We will create “virtual communities” of family caregivers to help them to consolidate and develop new, connections, and invaluable ongoing support. Creation of this virtual community will include those participants interested in maintaining connections to other caregivers, and it will be open to other caregivers seeking help.