Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


Background: Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are becoming more prevalent and individuals with the disease requiring much physically and emotionally from caregivers. As caregivers are often thrust unprepared into their roles, the need for quality education becomes increasingly important.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify changes in caregiver perception after participation in an interactive educational program. The following research questions were used: 1) What is the perception of both professional and family caregivers about their ability to provide care following an interactive education program for dementia care? 2) Does an education program change the caregiver’s general knowledge of dementia? 3) Does an education program for dementia care change the caregiver’s perceived ability to care for the person with dementia?

Theoretical Framework. Education courses based on Cognitive Disabilities Theory and Constructivist theory to promote interactive learning environment for the dissemination of constructs that promote optimal functioning for a person with cognitive impairment.

Methods: Participants were family and professional caregivers of persons with dementia recruited from caregiving courses offered by community education entities in southeast Idaho. This was a mixed-method study. Pre- and post-testing was administered to gather information regarding general dementia knowledge and perceptions of ability to fulfill roles of caregiver and yielded quantitative data, while a semi-structured interview conducted following course completion relayed qualitative data regarding the caregiving experience.

Results. Initial participants indicated no significant change in their knowledge of dementia, but an improvement in the perception of their ability to provide care was measured. Qualitative interviews resulted in similar codes, however saturation was not achieved to generate themes. Conclusions: The objective of this study was to discover the impact of education for caregivers of people with dementia. Although participation was limited, rich descriptions were given with initial indications that perception positively improved after completion of the education course.

Faculty Mentor

Dana M. Howell

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Anne Fleischer

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)