Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Content for Educating Caregivers about Dementia



  • The type of dementia, stage, associated losses, evolution of dementia, clinical manifestations, and possible complications of dementia .
  • Strategies for living well with dementia, and ways to support the independence of the person with dementia and help preserve his/her abilities.

Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD)


  • Common BPSD
  • Non-pharmacological approaches 
  • Understanding the causes/triggers for BPSD, the relationship between brain and behaviour, and strategies to prevent or manage BPSD
  • If pharmacological interventions or restraints are deemed necessary to manage targeted BPSD, education about the rationale for treatment and plans for reduction/removal


  • The purpose, risks and benefits, and side effects of medications used to enhance cognition



  • Effective communication skills
  • Benefits of effective communication (i.e., helps caregivers gain insight into the viewpoint of the person with dementia, promotes more positive behaviour and leads to more satisfying interactions) 

Anticipatory guidance

  • For example, regarding the possibility of delirium or depression, and areas of concern that might require urgent attention (e.g., delirium, risk of suicide)

Advanced care planning


  • Information to enable the person living with dementia and his/her family to plan for the future, determine substitute decision-makers, etc. 



  • The importance of self-care for caregivers
  • When to see a primary care provider or mental health specialist
  • Information about the health and social resources available to support caregivers (interprofessional team)
  • Caregiver programs: psychological support and psychoeducational programs (to reduce caregiver distress and improve the quality of life)
  • Counselling, cognitive–behavioural support
  • Grief counselling

Other resources


  • Information regarding resources and local programs that can offer information and formal or informal support
    • Example: Alzheimer Society
Older Adults
Delirium, Dementia, and Depression in Older Adults: Assessment and Care
Client and Family Education