What’s It Like to Hold a Virtual Workshop for Caregivers?

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Are you seeking fresh ideas for your caregiver support program during the pandemic? You may want to consider holding a virtual workshop for your caregivers. 

I recently created a new workshop outlining the framework for caregiver resilience—which is something all caregivers need, especially now more than ever. I was invited to present the workshop for a few different caregiver groups. In each case, this was originally planned as an in-person event, but COVID-19 turned it into a virtual one. 

Admittedly, I was concerned about how the workshop would play out in a virtual setting. In a face-to-face environment, you have the opportunity to engage with participants in a more personal and intimate way. When a participant makes a compelling comment, you can easily ask follow-up questions. In contrast, online participants are physically separated and further detached by the veil of technology that introduces a degree of anonymity to the whole experience. 

I found, however, that the virtual setting has advantages. Family caregivers who might otherwise be unable to attend a face-to-face meeting (often due to the needs of their loved one) can participate from their homes. In addition, caregivers participating in the online workshops seemed to be more willing to share their thoughts and feelings in response to questions. Perhaps the anonymity of the computer made them more forthright in sharing their struggles. 

The honesty of these comments from caregivers—often delivered via the “chat” feature of the technology platform—was strikingly relatable and illuminating for everyone present. As an example, in one workshop I asked participants what the title of their caregiving script would be. Here are a few of their answers: 

“The Juggler.” 

“The Amazing Daily Adventures of Grandma.”

“More than a Caregiver.”

“Welcome to Crazy Train.”

“Down the Rabbit Hole of Denial and Stubbornness.” 

“Up to the Challenge.”

“As the Chaos Turns.” 

By merely reading this list, can’t you just sense something about what’s underneath? I think every caregiver can probably read each one of those titles and relate in their own personal way. 

After a few experiences like these, I’ve become a proponent of virtual workshops for caregivers. While they are different from face-to-face groups, the virtual setting enables broader participation by caregivers and offers its own unique rewards in delivering an enlightening and uplifting experience. 

If you’d like to create a similar program for caregivers in your area, please let me know. I’d be delighted to work with you—from the comfort of home—to support your caregivers.

Posted in Caregiving, Eldercare, Family Caregiving