Making This Journey Together is a training and support program developed with and for caregivers who have a spouse, under 65 years of age, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder (a neurocognitive disorder). The program is specifically designed to help such caregivers achieve a smooth transition to this new role, and to provide them with the tools they need early in the caregiving process.
The Making This Journey Together program involves seven sessions of approximately 60 to 90 minutes each. They are given weekly.
This program is available in two forms, depending on the caregiver’s preferences: either face-to-face or over the Web. The face-to-face program allows caregivers to participate through one-on-one access to a health care professional at pre-determined times over the course of the program. The Web-based format allows the caregiver to access the program through a computer, with no need to travel. It is offered on a secure web-based platform. The caregiver completes the readings and exercises for each session at his or her convenience during the week, since the platform is accessible 24 hours a day. A health professional provides coaching throughout the program, answering questions and guiding the participant through the process. In addition, there are opportunities throughout the training for the caregiver to chat with other caregivers in a private discussion forum.
The content of the Making This Journey Together program can be summarized as the following series of topics:
1. Being a caregiver at an unexpected time in my life
2. How to have a personal life despite my many roles?
3. How to maintain my spouse’s potential and communicate well?
4. Opening up to others and asking for help
5. When my spouse’s behaviour becomes too disruptive
6. The future: challenges for me and my spouse
7. Assessment of what has been learned
The Making This Journey Together program was developed and evaluated by the team at the Université de Montréal Marguerite-d'Youville Research Chair on Humanistic Nursing Interventions, under a grant from the Quebec Network on Nursing Intervention Research and a grant from the Quebec Government’s Québec Ami des Aînés program. We would also like to highlight the significant contribution made by the Association québécoise des infirmières et infirmiers en gérontologie to this project. The Making This Journey Together program will soon be the subject of a larger-scale evaluation.
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