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Virtual support group for family caregivers of elderly people with dementia in the COVID- 19 scenery

Introduction: The physical, mental and social status of family caregivers and their care demands have been largely overlooked. This fact has been no different during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, home care will need updates for this new pandemic context, prioritizing the provision of personalized guidance for family caregivers. Objective: To minimize the impact on the mental health of family caregivers of people with dementia through the virtual support group for family caregivers. Method: The research was developed from the performance of support groups for family caregivers in dementia in the virtual format. The meetings were weekly, lasting 2 hours and the themes were worked out according to the group's demands. All meetings were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic content analysis. Results: In the 8 meetings, 10 family caregivers participated and 5 thematic categories were identified: technology; the routine in the COVID-19 pandemic; behavioral changes and their relationship with the caregiver's mental health; the support network as a health marker; and the new way of carrying out meaningful activities. Conclusion: The support group in the virtual format proved to be a powerful tool for accessing information and guidance concerning dementia, about family care and actions aimed at the caregiver's self-care, with an impact on their emotional state and well-being, minimizing the feeling of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Journal article
SciELO Brazil
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Cadernos de Terapia Ocupacional da UFSCar
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