CARERS Program for Family Caregivers

The University of Vermont Medical Center &  The UVM Center on Aging offers:

The CARERS Program for Family Caregivers

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, Ontario. The Memory Program at the University of Vermont Medical Center has offered these groups since 2016 and we have consistently received feedback from participants that this an extremely valuable service.  This program has now been expanded to include community group leaders certified in the program.

CARERS is much more than a support group. The program consists of 8 weekly sessions in an intimate group setting of no more than 6 members. The program is designed to increase understanding of the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and to address caregiver burden. Sessions are focused on 1. Cognitive behavioral therapy skills for problem solving for practical needs and resource development, and 2. Skills (through simulation or role play) for managing emotions and improved communication with the person suffering from dementia or with others involved in providing care.

This group is intended for family members who have been actively providing intensive care. For family members who are new to caregiving, we offer another group program TEACH, which was also developed at the Reitman Centre.

Offer two separate CARERS groups, one for spouses or partners and one for adult children caregivers:

  • The group for adult children caregivers is most often held in the early evening, a 5-7 pm time frame.
  • The group for spouse/ partners is often held during daytime.

Participation in this therapeutic program is generally covered by the caregiver’s own health insurance and there may be a co-pay.  A pre-assessment interview is required and this too is generally covered by health insurance.

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 McKenna at 802-847-2466 to inquire about joining.  It is recommend that those with interest sign up for group participation well ahead of the start dates because these groups can fill up quickly and space may be limited.