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The paper reviews the literature relating to the provision of community psychiatric nursing to demented elderly people and their informal family caregivers, and develops priorities for research in that particular area of nursing Initially, the development of community psychiatric nursing with elderly demented people is examined Various theoretical models articulating the family's experience of dementia are examined as a basis for identifying various priorities for research in the area Empirical evidence relating to the efficacy of various interventions is briefly discussed Various priorities are made regarding the development of research relating to the development of community psychiatric nursing with elderly demented people and their informal caregivers Finally the paper is placed in the context of the present policy of refocusing psychiatric nursing on to people with serious and enduring mental disorders It is argued that this policy should include elderly demented people not just younger people with functional mental disorders