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Informal Carers (including family, friends)

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The objective is to train the non-professional caregiver, who may be a friend or family member, who takes care of the person living with dementia, helping to support and promote their autonomy and psycho-physical well-being according to the needs of that person.

Learning outcomes

After completing this topic, you will:

  • Acquire the basic knowledge in order to carry out the daily care activities of the person in need.
  • Deliver improved quality of own life and of the life of the person who is cared for at home


This topic responds to the needs and skills of the socio-economic context characterising the regional territory, specifically given changes such as the ageing of the population, decrease in social spending, outsourcing of services by the Public Services, erosion of the family contribution to the ” direct assistance of relatives, and to the changed needs in the field of social assistance such as rapidly changing family network.

Given the raising of the average age of the population, it is necessary to update the family members with the definition of their expected skills needed to face the new political and social trends in the field of social assistance and to introduce models for the optimisation of the service delivery process aimed at guaranteeing assistance and care that meets the needs of the family members living with dementia as well as elderly members.

2.1.1  Care giving skills

Caregiving Skills can be classified in two main categories: soft skills and technical skills related to the care of the person living with dementia.

Person-centered care is a prerequisite for developing an adequate care culture. Therefore, a competent caregiver for good patient care management must understand and deliver this with the person in mind.

It is essential that the caregiver stimulates the elderly in activities that make them feel active and useful; in making them maintain their autonomy and self-esteem; ensure that the sight and hearing of the elderly are efficient.

Some of these skills are listed below and are learnt throughout the course.

  • Prepare and administer meals, paying attention to the diet (if indicated by the doctor), the characteristics of the person taken in charge and respect for their habits.
  • Tidy up and clean the home environment and provide personal hygiene
  • Detect and analyse the personal characteristics and needs of the person living with dementia, to guide the assistance activity and create a good relational climate with the direct beneficiary and family members.

Promote socialisation and promote the maintenance of autonomy (e.g. going out, keeping the person company, listening, talking, watching TV, reading), starting from the preferences of the person with dementia.

2.1.2 Soft and Technical Skills

Soft skills:
Creativity, Keen observation, Empathy, Thick skin, Stress management, Problem solving, Assertiveness, Communication, Patience and Being power to empower and motivate. These are the most important skills that a caregiver must have when working with elderly people and those with dementia.

Technical skills related to the care of the person:
Identify the needs underlying the family care intervention and manage the relationship with the beneficiaries of family care services. These needs are essentially attributable to the care, hygiene and movement of the assisted person. In addition, the assistance is also aimed at preparing and administering meals and promoting the realisation of the social life of the assisted person

Technical skills related to the care of the environment of the dementia sufferer:
Carry out basic domestic activities and maintain the hygiene and safety conditions of the spaces used. These activities now require greater attention also to protect the person from other viruses and bacteria, such as the situation generated by the spread of Covid19.


Key points:

  1. It is important that the caregiver understands the basic needs of the person with dementia and the basic care that is required
  2. These basic skills include personal care and domestic care
  3. Understanding ‘person centred-care’ is essential (see topic 4)