Saryazdi Head Shot

Facilitating communication between persons with dementia and their family caregivers through a multisensory virtual reality intervention

Dr. Raheleh Saryazdi, PhD

Award: 2021 Compassion and Technology Fellow

  • Digital health
  • Person-centered care
  • Virtual reality

Post Doctoral Fellow, KITE-Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network

Persons with dementia experience declines in communication abilities as symptoms progress, thereby negatively impacting their relationship with family caregivers. These communication barriers lead to loneliness, social isolation, and poor quality of life for both parties, which were exacerbated during this pandemic. Despite these serious implications, few interventions have focused on the relationship between the person with dementia and those who care for them. With end-users, Raheleh will design and evaluate a virtual reality at-home intervention that facilitates communication between the person with dementia and their family caregivers, improving interpersonal relationships and well-being. The virtual reality therapy will also alleviate caregiver load, which has increased during the pandemic, as families have limited access to external resources and support.