Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

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Caregiving Essentials

Enhance your knowledge of the caregiver role

Information and support you need


Registration now open!


Do you act as a family or informal caregiver for an older adult? Have you been looking for information and support?

We invite you to participate in Caregiving Essentials. This course is designed for the sole purpose of supporting and empowering family caregivers. The skills and knowledge learned are meant to benefit caregivers in any way they choose.

This course is not connected to or affiliated with the Essential Family Caregiver designation or any other requirements to access any health care setting. 

This course enables you to learn at your own pace, when it is most convenient for you. You will work through course content and activities, as well as meet others through an online discussion board and interactive virtual presentations.


How to get started?

Registration involves 2 steps:

This course is open enrollment; you may join any time between October 13, 2020 and July 9, 2021. The course will end on August 9, 2021, regardless of when you join.

What topics does the course include:

  • Adopting the caregiver role, including legal and financial information
  • How to navigate the health care system 
  • How to take care of yourself so you can care for someone else
  • Health and medical information management
  • Resources
  • COVID-19 Conversations Corner

What is involved in the course?

Caregiving Essentials is a not-for-credit course that is delivered entirely online. This learning model enables you to work through the course at your own pace. The course will guide you through four modules and direct you to a wide variety of resources. You will be guided to complete the course over an 8-10 week period, but you may complete the course on your own time.  While we encourage you to participate; there are no mandatory assignments or grades.  We recommend you spend 60-90 minutes each week to complete the program over the 8-10 week time period. 

Woven through the course content is a Caregiver Action Plan (CAP) which you will be prompted to complete in order to prepare for expected and unexpected situations.  

Because the course is delivered entirely online, you should have reliable access to a computer and the internet to participate. The course can be done in your home, or in a public space, such as a library. You will also need an email address to register for the course. 

View Course Outline

Who is ​the Caregiving Essentials course for?

This course was designed for caregivers of older adults and funded through the Ontario Ministry of Seniors Affairs. Given the COVID-19 crisis, it is now open to anyone new to caregiving. Many principles and realities of providing care in a family or informal context are the same regardless of diagnosis. This noted, McMaster University asks that you consult your healthcare provider or public health for evidence-based guidance in the case of illness, including COVID-19.

What are people saying about the course?

“The material was very well organized... It lent itself well to doing things independently and online which is what I was looking for.”

“ was kind of refreshing to get the perspective that there's lots of people out there dealing with this...It helped me keep everything in perspective.”

“ built my confidence because when your loved one becomes ill, it's very overwhelming...This kind of calmed me down and said, 'Yeah, I can do this. I can handle this’.”​

Read more!

This course has been made possible through a collaboration with the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging, Thrive Group, and McMaster Continuing Education. Funding was provided by the Ontario Ministry of Seniors Affairs. Further funding through the Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario enables the course's sustained delivery. 

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