Leveraging volunteers to support dementia family caregivers: An innovative approach to care and support

Noelle L. Fields, Erin M. Roark, Ling Xu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) family caregiving is often challenging, especially as formal services and supports are limited. Despite this, ~80% of care for persons with ADRD in the United States comes from family, friends, or other unpaid caregivers. As the population ages and the prevalence of ADRD increases, there is a considerable need for accessible and affordable community-based services and support for ADRD caregivers. Organizing and training volunteers to address unmet ADRD caregiving needs may be a scalable and cost-effective approach to address gaps in ADRD care. In this chapter, we highlight three volunteer-based services for ADRD family caregivers: (1) peer support programs, (2) churches and other faith-based communities, and (3) the Senior Companion Program. For each type of service, we describe the benefits to caregivers and care recipients, potential challenges, and an example of an existing program. We also offer innovative volunteer-based programming strategies for ADRD caregiving: (1) technological advances in peer support, (2) dementia-friendly churches, and (3) augmenting the Senior Companion Program with specialized ADRD training. Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution to addressing the ADRD caregiving gap, these volunteer-based models of care may allow community-based organizations to adopt cost-effective and sustainable strategies that leverage the skills and knowledge of trained volunteers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBridging the Family Care Gap
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780128138984
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Dementia
  • Family caregiving
  • Training
  • Volunteers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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