Sign up by: 01 September 2025
Caregiving for people with dementia has become an issue of international importance. The focus of research in caregiver burden and distress in neurodegenerative disease has been on the patients' cognitive deficits and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Social cognition comprises many psychological processes that allows individuals to partake in social situations by enabling them to perceive and recognize the thoughts, emotions, and behaviours of others. There is growing awareness of social cognitive deficits occurring in the different neurodegenerative diseases. People with dementia may display increasing difficulties in understanding social cues or recognizing emotions and caregivers are generally unaware of these deficits. There is growing evidence that changes in emotion recognition can impact caregiver mood and be associated with caregiver burden.
This is a pilot project to assess the feasibility of educating dementia caregivers on emotion recognition deficits and decreased empathy in patients with dementia and the impact of education on caregiver burden, mood and quality of life. Seventy-five dementia caregiver-patient pairs will be recruited for this cross-sectional study. Caregivers' ability to detect emotion recognition deficits and empathy impairment in the patient will be assessed. Caregivers will be given a questionnaire to evaluate their knowledge of emotion recognition deficits and empathy impairment in the patient. Caregiver burden, mood, and quality of life will be assessed. The caregivers will then be given educational material on emotion recognition deficits and empathy impairment in dementia and then be asked to evaluate the information they have received. After 1 month, caregivers will be contacted to assess whether the information they received changed their understanding of emotion recognition deficits and empathy impairment and if it had an impact on caregiver burden, mood and quality of life.
Study Sponsor: Toronto Western and General Hospitals
Location: In-person (Optional at Toronto Western Hospital) + Phone (Optional)
How Often: Yearly
Contact: Daniela Mora-Fisher, Clinical Research Coordinator