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WCN 2023 | Empowering young caregivers: introducing the YCare program

Melinda Kavanaugh, PhD, LCSW, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI introduces the YCare program – an intervention that provides training and support to young caregivers in a multi-disciplinary manner. This initiative addresses the unique challenges faced by young caregivers, who grapple with the profound impact of caring for individuals with debilitating neurological conditions. Young caregivers must balance these responsibilities with attending school and building relationships, leading to increased isolation and reduced wellbeing. The YCare program addresses the lack of support for young caregivers, providing access to specialized training modules covering various aspects of care, such as feeding and movement. These modules are facilitated by experts in physical, occupational, and respiratory therapy, speech-language pathology, and social work, allowing participants to acquire hands-on skills. Additionally, YCare fosters a peer-engaged environment, enabling socially isolated young caregivers to connect with others facing similar challenges. This interaction builds confidence in their caregiving abilities and helps them recognize the significance of the care they provide. This interview took place at the World Congress of Neurology (WCN) 2023 in Montreal, Canada.

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