The Road to Connection is a two-hour weekly program created at Baycrest for people living with mild to moderate dementia and their spouses. It weaves together three evidence-based interventions to provide an emotionally focused psychosocial support group for the spouses and a separate group which melds arts-based and cognitive interventions for the partner with dementia. For the last half hour, couples are brought together to work on a small art project.
“Dementia can cause a real strain on relationships, so we designed this program to help both caregivers and their partner with dementia find new ways to communicate,” said Renee Climans, Social Worker and Therapist at Baycrest Health Sciences. “This is the first time we’ve paired an arts-based program for people with cognitive challenges with a support group for caregivers. It’s important for people to know that they’re not alone and that help is available to support them through this new stage in their relationship.”
The ultimate goal of the program is to decrease the burden that some family caregivers feel, while increasing the quality of life for the family care provider and the person with dementia, and decreasing premature institutionalization of people affected by dementia.
Participants have described it as a “very positive” experience.
The program was made possible with support from the Hy and Bertha Shore and Harry and Sara Gorman Award and the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI).