• Alzheimer's disease;
  • dementia;
  • family caregivers;
  • skill building;
  • randomized clinical trial;
  • qualitative analysis


Increasing attention has been given to testing clinical trials with family caregivers of the elderly. More recent intervention studies indicated that caregiver skill-building interventions may be more effective than information/support interventions. Researchers have given considerable attention to the content and support needed by family caregivers, but we know less about how this content and support translates into caregiver skills. This is the first in a series of three articles on a study in which qualitative methods were used to analyze summaries from the group component of a larger caregiver clinical trial. In this article we identify content and skills that dementia family caregivers need in addressing three major care recipient issues and concerns: (a) difficult behaviors and emotional responses, (b) personal and instrumental activities of daily living, and (c) cognitive decline. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 26:366–375, 2003