The CARERS Program for Dementia Family Caregivers: Winter 2024

| News and Information

Offered by:  The University of Vermont Medical Center Dementia Family Caregiver Center and UVMMC Department of Neurology

Winter Schedule 2024

What is the CARERS Program? CARERS (Coaching, Advocacy, Respite, Education, Relationship and Simulation) is an evidence based therapeutic group program that enhances the knowledge, skills, and competence of informal family caregivers of people with dementia. This program is based on the CARERS Program model developed by the Reitman Centre at the Sinai Health System of Toronto, Canada. Participants who complete the program report increased ability to cope and decreased burden.

What is the TEACH Program? TEACH (Training, Education, and Assistance for Caregiving at Home) is a therapeutic, evidence-based group designed for family members who are new to caregiving.  This group meets for 90-minute sessions for 4 consecutive weeks and is led by a trained mental health professional.  The program uses a model of supportive interaction, resource sharing, and problem solving.

January-June 2024 CARERS and TEACH Groups: The Dementia Family Caregiver Center is currently offering 3 CARERS groups and 1 TEACH group through telemedicine, via a HIPPA compliant ZOOM video platform.  Theses group are intended for family members who have been actively providing intensive care to a family member with dementia. We offer separate CARERS groups for spouses and adult children.

Logistical Information:

  1. TEACH: January 12-February 2, 2024. Time: 2:00-3:30. Facilitator, Rhiannon Champagne, LICSW
  2. CARERS Care Partners /Spouses: February 12-April 8, 2024 (no group March 4). Time: 1:30-4:00.  Facilitators, Sara Levesque, BSW, MSW candidate, Dara Stimson, LICSW
  3. CARERS Adult Children: March 14-May 2, 2024. Time: 4:30-6:30. Facilitators: Lisa K. Lax, LICSW, EdD and Emily Mars Raymond, MSW.
  4. CARERS Care Partners/Spouses: April 4-May 23, 2024. Time: 1:30-4:00.   Facilitators: Rhiannon Champagne, LICSW and Lucas Kovacevich, MSW

For other groups anticipated but not yet scheduled please contact the Dementia Family Caregiver Center for updates at 802847-4589.

Commitment:  The CARERS program consists of 8 weekly sessions for 6 members. CARERS is designed to increase understanding of the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and to address caregiver burden.

Skills Learned:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy skills for problem solving practical needs and resource development.
  2. Communication skills (through simulation or role play) for managing emotions and improved communication with the person suffering from dementia or with others.

Fees: Participation is generally covered by the caregiver’s health insurance.  Please contact us with any questions regarding potential barriers that may be addressed.

Additional Information and How to Register:

If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about the CARER’s program, or if you would like to be considered for the group, please contact Lori P. McKenna, LICSW at 802-847-4589 or by email:, or Joan Marsh-Reed, MA at 802-847-4589 or by email:  A pre-assessment interview is required prior to joining the group.  We recommend that those with interest sign up soon; space may be limited.

We look forward to hearing from you!