Strategies for Effective Caregiving


  • Remember that effective caregiving takes:
    • Knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease, people, human behavior.
    • Skill in interpersonal relations and with caregiving techniques.
    • Flexibility in routine and approaches. What works today may fail tomorrow. What works with one person may not with someone else.
    • An attitude of hopeful but realistic expectation.
  • Focus on the positive, healthy qualities of the care recipient.
  • Identify, emphasize, and build on remaining abilities.
  • Praise small successes.
  • Encourage independence instead of taking over.
  • Respect the care recipient’s dignity, privacy, and individuality.
  • Look for the meaning and purpose behind behavior.
  • Set as a daily goal, to obtain the cooperation of the care recipient.
  • Build trust and a sense of competence in the care recipient.
  • Search for, and build on, the care recipient‘s remaining abilities:
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    • Emotional capacity – The ability to experience fear, joy, excitement, pride, anxiety, sorrow, shame, and sympathy. The expression of these emotions may differ from the caregiver’s expectations.
    • Awareness of the environment – Even if not fully comprehended.
    • Social capacities – Ability to respond and show concern for others.
    • Ability to communicate – If not through words, by facial expression, gestures, and body language.
    • Ability to make logical connections – What may seem irrational to the caregiver may be logically connected to the person’s perceptions.
  • Caregivers have many roles:
    • Observer – Pay attention to the care recipient and the environment.
    • Learner – Ask questions, learn about the person’s interests and background, read, ask others for suggestions and feedback, listen.
    • Care Partner – Partner with the care recipient and other people involved in the person’s care, including other family members, professional care providers, and healthcare professionals.
      • Keep lines of communication open.
      • Share meaningful information.
      • Provide support to other caregivers as needed.
      • Share ideas and approaches. Try to meet regularly and brainstorm with other caregivers.


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