Virtual Reality (VR) Training Program for Dementia Caregivers

Observational Study

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Full study title: Dementia Caregivers Skill Training Through Virtual Reality Simulation (VR-SIM Carers)


What is the study about?

“VR-SIM Carers” aims to adapt a caregiver training program for dementia onto a Virtual Reality (VR) platform. This study invites dementia caregivers, clinicians, and VR/technology experts to help design and test the VR program. Depending on eligibility, participants may take part in different research activities. Participants can also choose to get updated about future opportunities in the VR-SIM Carers project. Research activities include:


1: Caregiver Survey
Caregivers will complete a survey asking some information about themselves, and then to rank the relevance of different challenging caregiving scenarios one might face in their day-to-day as a caregiver.


2: Virtual Reality (VR) Demonstration Roadshow
These are ongoing events that take place at different locations across Canada. Caregivers will have the opportunity to try out VR technology and navigate through caregiving scenarios in this virtual world. Both during and after the experience, we will ask participants to provide feedback on both the technology and their experience. Additionally, participants may be invited to complete surveys. Roadshows can have A) a structured set-up where participants are recruited beforehand, or it could be B) a drop-in set-up. If you would like a roadshow set up in your area, please submit your interest here to be connected with the research team.


3: Consensus Building Survey
This survey involves ranking different elements that caregivers want to see in the first prototype of the VR-SIM Carers program, and answering questions about themselves. For example, participants may be asked to decide whether touch activation or voice activation is more important in the first version of this program.



Eligibility – Who can participate?

All participants must be:

  • Either a caregiver, researcher, and/or community stakeholder (i.e. an expert on dementia caregiving or a virtual reality technology expert).
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Able to provide informed consent
  • Be able to read and speak English, and
    • Participate in a focus group
    • Complete self-administered surveys or assessment tools


Participants who are taking part as research or community stakeholders must:

  • Have experience as a clinician and/or a researcher focused on one of the following areas:
    • Dementia caregiving
    • Virtual reality technology & research
    • Simulation technology & research
    • Group psychotherapy


Participants who are taking part as caregivers must be:

  • An unpaid or family caregiver for a person living with diagnosed dementia.


Time requirement

Different components of the studies have differing requirements

  1. Caregiver Survey: 20-30 minutes
  2. VR Demonstration Roadshows: A) Structured/pre-arranged: 1.5-2 hours; B) Drop-in: 10-30 minutes
  3. Consensus Building Survey: Participants will complete 3 surveys total. Each survey will take 15-30 minutes. There will be a gap of 2-3 weeks between each survey.


TDRA study investigators

Dr. Mary Chiu, Dr. Amer Burhan



Advances in Dementia Research Webinar- Listen to Dr. Mary Chiu (Co-Principal Investigator) discuss the VR-SIM Carers study in further detail:


More information

Our website:

Email us for more information:


Participation is either in-person at roadshow locations, or online, depending on activity.
1. The Caregiver Survey can be completed online or in person at a roadshow.
2. Roadshows will be in a variety of locations across Canada. Structured roadshows can be setup in areas where there are participant interest. For information about upcoming roadshow locations please visit:
3. The Consensus Building Survey can only be completed online.

This study is being led by researchers at:
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences

TDRA Site:

Participate from homeRoadshow locations

Age Group:

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Target Population:

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The listing of a study on the Toronto Dementia Network (TDN) is for informational purposes only. The safety, efficacy or scientific validity of the studies listed here have not been evaluated by The Alzheimer Society of Toronto (AST) or the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA). The TDRA is an academic coalition among the University of Toronto and four memory clinics across Toronto at Baycrest, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the University Health Network. The information collected will be kept and guarded by TDRA. Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Before you participate in a study, you should make sure you understand the risks and potential benefits and discuss all options with your health care provider(s).