Graduation Date


Document Type

Capstone Project

Project Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Program Chair

Julia Wilbarger, PhD, OTR/L

Faculty Advisor

Gina Tucker-Roghi, OTD, OTR/L


The number of individuals living with dementia continues to rise every year, with the need for caregiver education increasing as a result. Occupational therapists (OTs) have the skills and training needed to educate caregivers on how to care for not only themselves, but their loved one as well. The Early-Bird Caregiver Education Program was created to support caregivers of individuals living with early-stage dementia, memory loss, or other cognitive impairments in providing the highest quality of care possible, while also maintaining their own well-being. The program is intended to be led by an occupational therapy practitioner and aims to provide OTs with an evidence-based, virtual training and support program. The program consists of three sessions, each of which are approximately forty minutes long, and will be conducted in a group, telehealth setting. The three sessions will cover various topics including: the remaining abilities of individuals living with dementia, communication strategies, activity modification, occupational balance, and caregiver health management. The implementation guide, which is informed by current evidence, includes instructions on how to implement the sessions, and will be available on the DUC Healthy Aging website. Though this program was unable to be implemented in its intended format due to COVID-19, the evidence found through creating this program informed the creation of a level II fieldwork opportunity for Dominican University of California OT graduate students, who were able to conduct virtual one-on-one sessions with caregivers of individuals living with dementia. Though the Early-Bird Caregiver Education program has yet to be implemented due to COVID-19, program developers were able to conduct a survey and collect data on the potential value of the program, with the results indicating that the material included in this program are necessary and meaningful for caregivers of ILwD.


The intervention guide can be found at the Early-Bird Caregiver Education website