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Today! Presentation: Alzheimers Disease and Caregiver Burden (Research Cluster on Wellness)

Posted on: Jan 18, 2017


Today The Research Cluster on Welness Presents:

Wed. January 18, 2017, 4:00-5:00 pm, HA 206 

Presenters: Dr. Alison Kulak and Dr. Bryan Rooney:

Alzheimers Disease and Caregiver Burden


Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia is associated with a number of negative consequences for caregivers, collectively referred to as caregiver burden. Caregivers’ first medical contacts are uniquely positioned to provide much needed information and practical support that may mitigate caregivers’ challenges. Because little is known about caregiver’s early experiences with healthcare professionals, we constructed a brief survey designed to explore the quality of caregivers’ first contacts with healthcare professionals and met with participants of caregiver support groups offered through the Alzheimer’s Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories in various locations in Alberta, Canada. Our findings suggest that healthcare professionals who are the point of first contact have an important opportunity to either exacerbate or alleviate caregiver burden.


Bio: Alison Kulak received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Development from Carleton University in 1993 where she conducted research focussed on the the development of mathematical cognition, the role of working memory in arithmetic problem-solving, and mathematics-related anxiety. She has been

on the faculty at Concordia University of Edmonton since 1995 where she has recently been engaged in collaborative research designed to explore facets of caregiver well-being and to identify experiences and support services that can contribute to reductions in caregiver burden. Presently she is working on a interdisciplinary collaborative pilot project that involves conducting usability testing of an online caregiver support tool developed by the World Health Organization (WHO iSupport) adapted to the local Canadian context and delivered via the ASANT café website of the Alzheimer’s Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories.


Bryan J. Rooney is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Concordia University of Edmonton. He enjoys teaching research methods and finds the process of helping students design and implement their own research projects particularly rewarding. When students learn about research by developing their own projects, they experience the frustrations, excitements, and occasional disappointments that are part of the process. He has taught research methods, statistics, and biopsychology. His research background is in visual and auditory sensation and perception, and more recent interests include quality-of-life issues for people with dementia. When he is not involved in the life of his busy family, you can find him skiing or riding his motorcycles depending on the season. He earned his PhD in psychology from Carelton University in Ottawa, and his BSc and MSc from the University of Calgary.