Primary carers of people living with dementia can take part in a free six-week program that will create a virtual support community using videoconferencing.
Carers in regional areas can take part in the research project, ‘Caring for Carers’ being run by ageing and health promotion experts at CQUniversity.
The program will allow carers to share their experiences, provide peer support and receive expert guidance on the issues that impact them on a daily basis. Participants will attend weekly meetings lasting for about one hour, to discuss issues such as navigating the health and social care systems, being an advocate and caring for the carer.
Lead researcher for the project, Professor Lynne Parkinson, explained that the key aim is to assess whether videoconferencing is an effective tool in helping carers to access support, build resilience and overcome challenges.
Caring for someone with dementia can be extremely challenging and often a very lonely and isolating experience.- Professor Lynne Parkinson
“We want to establish a virtual network for carers, so they can connect with their peers to talk about these challenges and access valuable support and advice,” Professor Parkinson said.
“The project will be run in six weekly intervals with up to eight participants in each session.
“Our previous research has shown that videoconferencing is easy to use and can bring people together in the comfort of their home.
“As part of the project we will also provide trained support resources to help people using videoconferencing technology for the first time.”
Professor Parkinson explained that despite carers already facing a number of pressures and time constraints, the program is designed specifically to act as a support mechanism to help make life easier.
“We are very aware of the pressures carers face - many are performing their duty on top of other commitments such as work or raising a family, but we have designed this program in order to help people deal with these challenges more effectively.
“All participants need to do is commit to a weekly session and engage in the conversation.
“Participants will find value in this approach as each session has been structured based on findings of past research with carers, so as to provide participants with the information and tools they need.”
Six-weekly programs will be held throughout the remainder of this year and during 2019. There is no cost to participate in the program but those interested will need to have access to a reliable internet connection.
For more information, or to enrol in the program please visit www.cqu.edu.au/caringforthecarers.
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