Honoring the Whole Family: Examining the Efficacy of the Dawn Method on Dementia Caregivers

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

Introduction/Background: Dementia is a neurocognitive disorder that affects more than 50 million people each year in the United States. Caregivers of people living with dementia (PLWD) are tasked with assisting with activities of daily living (ADLS). The ongoing demands of caregiving may negatively impact caregivers’ emotional and physical health. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of the DAWN Method on decreasing caregiver burden and increasing positive perceptions of caregiving. Methods: Participants were recruited over the course of one month on social media platforms. Participants were screened based on inclusion criteria. Participants attended educational training sessions for eight weeks via Zoom. Pre-test and post-test data were collected via the Zarit Burden Inventory (ZBI) and the Positive Aspects of Caregiving (PAC) Scale. A brief demographics survey and four open-ended questions were also administered following the completion of the study. Results: Twenty-seven participants completed the pre-test surveys. Twenty participants completed the post-test surveys. The sample included males (n = 4) and females (n = 16). Participants represented four countries including the United States (n = 16), Canada (n = 1), the United Kingdom (n = 2), and Brazil (n = 1). The study represented four ethnicities including Caucasian (70%), African American (10%), Latino/Hispanic (15%), and two or more (5%). A paired, one tailed t-test was used to analyze data. The study found statistical significance in the improvement of scores from the Zarit Burden Inventory (<.05) and the Positive Aspects of Caregiving Scale (<0.01). Discussion: The findings are similar to those of larger studies on caregiver education intervention have found. Caregiver support has the potential to improve caregiver burden and perceived positive aspects of caregiving. Although the effect size was small, it contributes to the existing body of knowledge that supports the notion that caregiver support is essential. Social workers, policy makers, and organizational leaders may use the findings to explore how they can further support caregivers in their communities.

Dementia, Caregiving, Caregiver burden, Attitudes about caregiving