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Examining the effectiveness of the Savvy Caregiver Program among rural Colorado residents

Submitted: 15 July 2005
Revised: 17 August 2005
Published: 14 September 2005

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Author(s) : Smith S, Bell PA.

Sara Anne SmithPaul Bell

Citation: Smith S, Bell PA.  Examining the effectiveness of the Savvy Caregiver Program among rural Colorado residents. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2005; 5: 466. Available: (Accessed 24 October 2017)


Objective: Alzheimer’s disease can be particularly devastating to those living in rural communities where caregivers are typically older and access to supportive services is more limited than in urban areas. The purpose of this study was to examine an ongoing intervention that targets the needs of rural dementia caregivers by providing appropriate education, training, and access to services.
Method: A total of 54 rural and 42 urban caregivers participated in the Savvy Caregiver Program in their local communities, with training of 1 week, 2 week, or 3 week sessions by staff of the Alzheimer’s Association, Colorado Chapter. Participants completed multiple surveys and questionnaires both before the training and at a 6 month follow-up phone interview.
Results: Positive outcomes of the training were found at 6 month follow up for both the rural and urban group, including reported use of the printed manual and CD-ROM. Caregivers reported structuring meaningful activities for the person with dementia. Improved depression scores were found for the rural group, and overall support group use increased.
Discussion: The outcomes suggest that targeting rural communities for caregiver training can result in more use of supportive services, effective caregiving strategies, and improved caregiver wellbeing, even in low density population areas where supportive services are more difficult to access.

Key words:  Alzheimer’s disease, caregiver, education and training, USA

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