The Impact of COVID-19 on Family Caregivers for Persons Living with Dementia

Conducting a Gap Analysis of Family Caregivers' Needs during a Global Pandemic

About the Project

The goal of this project is to evaluate the gap between the needs of Family Caregivers (FCGs) for People Living with Dementia (PLWD), and the resources and supports available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using an online survey and digital focus groups, the research also captures the impact of the pandemic-related public health measures on FCGs and the PLWD for whom they provide care.

Older adults are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those with a chronic condition such as dementia. For FCGs of PLWD, the COVID-19 pandemic has made providing essential care even more difficult, as they attempt to navigate changing public health measures, restrictions, closures, and changes to the resources they use in daily care. The pandemic has also increased isolation for FCGs and PLWD, both for those living in long-term care and in the community.

Family caregivers are a critical public health resource, and public health measures must balance restrictions that prevent the spread of the virus with caregiving  supports that allow FCGs to continue providing essential care. The results of the survey and focus groups are being used to generate informed recommendations for health care policymakers, providers, and other key stakeholders on how to better support FCGs of PLWD.

Investigators: Dr. Gwen McGhan, RN, PhD, GNC(c); Dr. Deirdre McCaughey, PhD, MBA


A pilot study was completed in the Calgary area in Summer 2020. A province-wide version of the survey was launched in February 2021, along with our community partners, Alzheimer Society of Calgary, Dementia Network Calgary,  Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories, and Alberta SPOR Support Unit.

Impacts from the pilot study include:

  • Development of recommendations to address needs for FCGs whose family member resides in the community or long-term care
  • Presentation of results to stakeholder groups through online webinars including: CORE Family Caregivers Group: Launch Event and Discussion Forum; Dementia Network Calgary Webinar; and University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing Breakfast Series Talk
  • Infographic production & distribution
  • Recommendations for public health restrictions/guidelines

Services Provided

• Ethics Development and Management
• Grant Writing Support
• Survey & Questionnaire Support
• Participant Screening & Recruitment
• Stakeholder Engagement
• Data Management
• Knowledge Translation

Additional Content