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Caregiving Essentials is a free eight-week online course for primary caregivers to enhance their knowledge and skills. Caregivers will access information over the internet at your own pace, as well as meet others through an online discussion board.



Caregiving Essentials Course


McMaster Centre for Continuing Education (CCE), the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) and THRIVE group received grant funding over one year to create, implement and evaluate a course targeting unpaid and/or family caregivers of older adults. The resulting eight-week course, Caregiving Essentials, launched on October 7, 2018 and a second offering launched on February 4, 2019. The course aimed to increase caregiver skills and knowledge of health care issues for older adults; improve their ability to navigate and access health and community care systems; and improve their personal health and well, being, including self-efficacy.

Topics Include:

  • Becoming a caregiver, including legal and financial information
  • How to navigate the health care system and get the supports you need
  • How to take care of yourself so you can care for someone else
  • Health and medical information​

Curriculum Design

Course curriculum was developed by MIRA. The McMaster Optimal Aging Portal was heavily leveraged. The content was reviewed by the project team. The resulting curriculum features four modules, and an additional resources module featuring information related to specific medical conditions. A Caregiver Action Plan is woven through the modules and provides participants with an output following the course. As well, activities and quizzes are included in the course, as well as a discussion board that students can use to connect with other students and discuss common caregiving issues. Modules and learning objectives include:
• You and the Caregiver Role
• Your Caregiver Toolbox: Health and Medical Fundamentals
• Navigating Complex Systems: Getting the Support You and Your Care Receiver Need
• The Importance of Looking After You​

Insights from the post-course evaluation

• 74% of participants responded that they have a more positive attitude toward their caregiver role after completing the course.
• 89% would be willing to take an online course again.
• 68% felt their care recipient benefitted from their participation in the course.
• 89% said they were able to use this information in their role as a caregiver.
• 84% said they learned new information in this course.
• 84% appreciated the level of interaction within the course.
• 95% said they would recommend this course to a friend.


Dr. Allison Williams and Shelley Rottenberg are currently analyzing the evaluation data with the intent to write and submit at least two papers for publication that will highlight their findings and demonstrate the value of this on-line resource to our stakeholders. Additional funding will be necessary for continuation of this course to adapt and grow within our ever changing aging and healthcare landscape. MIRA is seeking support from stakeholders to expand the course and build in moderation capability to support the students.​

Are you interested? Contact us!

For more information or to register, please contact

Email MIRA at:       Follow us on Twitter : @MIRAMcMaster
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