Caring for the Caregivers

Caregiver support group - pic. 2

Photo Credit: More Good Foundation

Dementia is the most common reason that older adults need support for basic day-to-day tasks. Parkinson’s disease and strokes can also cause a loss of independence. Currently, there is no cure for many of these diseases, but there are many ways to express love and support for aging family members.

The UCF Orlando Later-Life Development (OLDeR) Lab in the UCF Department of Psychology is partnering with UCF Health to offer a Caregiver Support Group. This six-week support group is based on multidisciplinary research with caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and cognitive impairment.

The UCF Caregiver Support Group is a tool to help caregivers better manage the stresses, better understand the challenges, and take better care of those they love. Support groups provide an opportunity to speak openly about all aspects of caregiving in a supportive environment. Group members are asked to participate in research studying how group membership affects their lives as caregivers.

If a group member wishes to discontinue participation in the study, but continue their participation in the group, they will be permitted to do so. Research participation is not required to participate in the caregiver support groups. Deciding to participate in, or terminate participation in, the proposed research will not affect access to the support group.

Assistant Professor Daniel Paulson, Ph.D., is the head researcher at the OLDeR Lab. He focuses on intersection of gerontology, health psychology, and clinical neuropsychology with an emphasis on depression and cognition. His clinical interest include caregiving and dementia evaluation with older adults.

Ph.D. students Mona Shah, Rosanna Scott, and Danielle Herring work with Dr. Paulson in the OLDeR Lab and are directly involved in the caregiving support group. Dr. Paulson and his students study how caregivers who feel capable, well prepared, and supported are able to provide better care for longer.

The caregiver support groups meet for 90 minutes per week for 6 weeks. Groups include between 4 and 12 caregivers, each led by a Doctoral or Master’s level psychologist from the OLDeR Lab at UCF.

The group meetings include informative discussions about self-care, managing dementia symptoms, improving communication, understanding difficult behaviors and increasing pleasant events for both the caregiver and the patient. The caregiver support group is provided at no cost to the participant.

The series will be offered at UCF Health, East Orlando office, 3400 Quadrangle Blvd, Orlando, FL 32817. For dates and times of these group sessions click here.

To learn more about the caregiver support group click here. For more information about the OLDeR Lab, please visit the lab website at

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