Savvy Caregiver is recognized nationally as a leading evidence-based dementia family caregiver training program.
Savvy programs are designed to provide the most relevant dementia knowledge, skills, and mastery to support family members as they provide care for their relative or friend living with dementia. Savvy Caregiver programs have been proven to decrease family caregiver distress, burden, and depression, while increasing caregivers’ sense of competence and confidence in their care role.
Savvy Caregiver provides person-centered, active-learning programs in a variety of formats that integrate core principles and insights from gerontology, nursing, family systems, and occupational therapy. Families learn strategies to enhance their own self-care as well as day-to-day time with their person.
With the vast majority of daily long-term care is provided by family members, Savvy Caregiver programs offer an array of programs across the U.S. Culturally-sensitive adaptations and translations continue to be developed and tested to serve families in diverse communities.
Savvy Caregiver was originally developed and validated for in-person, community-based delivery in 6 weekly sessions. In-person classes remain the most popular format, but Savvy has expanded to include other formats and delivery methods such as a 3-week program, advanced content, and a tele-delivered version. Savvy presents easy-to-understand information, skills, and strategies so that family caregivers can deal more effectively with the demands of dementia caregiving. The program emphasizes knowledge of dementia diseases and promotes caregiver self-care.
Each session uses a combination of instruction, interactive exercises, and home assignments for participants to learn Savvy concepts and apply them to their own caregiving situations. Our goal is for family caregivers to feel confident and competent in their care role so that they can make the most of their time with their person who is living with dementia.
Savvy Caregiver was created at the University of Minnesota and originally published/copyrighted in 2002. Its content and materials have since been adapted and translated by research teams at Emory University and other collaborating organizations. All Savvy Caregiver programs are copyrighted and trademarked, and must be used under license and with permission. It is not public domain or “open source” material, even when funded by state or federal grants. Since 2006, University of Minnesota has assessed licensing fees on select Savvy programs.
The Savvy Caregiver core curriculum originally developed and validated in 2002 remains the foundation of all other Savvy versions.
Savvy content focuses on knowledge of dementia diseases, elements of cognition, the role of confusion in dementia, caregiver self-care, identifying the person’s current stage of disease, strategies for providing appropriate structure and support of daily activities, decision making, and expanding family support and community resources. Through weekly home practice, participating caregivers practice and apply their new skills to meet their family’s specific needs and situation.
Beginning July 1, 2021, any use or implementation of Savvy Caregiver content or materials in any format must be licensed.
The original and most widely delivered version of Savvy Caregiver® is an in-person, small-group program held over 6 weeks.
Savvy Caregiver Express® is a shorter version of the original Savvy Caregiver program delivered over a period of only 3 weeks.
Savvy Caregiver® Advanced includes added focus on skills, knowledge, attitudes, later-stage choices, and end-of-life decisions.
Tele-Savvy is a 7-week individual virtual program that features online content. Coming in 2023
Thank you for your interest in Savvy Caregiver!
Since 2001, federal and foundation funding have enabled state and regional social service agencies and organizations to provide Savvy Caregiver programs to tens of thousands of caregivers across the U.S. Savvy programs expand family caregivers’ knowledge of dementia, its progression, and the strategic skills required in the caregiving role. Savvy family caregivers feel more confident, competent, and equipped to manage daily life with their person living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
As your partner and resource for Savvy Caregiver programs, we are here to help support you and your organization. Savvy Systems is your home for many of the evidence-based adapted versions of Savvy program, such as the Savvy Express, Savvy Advanced, Tele-Savvy, language translation, and an online training for course leaders (launching in 2023).
Together as an original Savvy co-author and a long-time developer of interactive Savvy content, we bring 40+ years of combined expertise in program implementation, dissemination, fidelity, and sustainability to Savvy Systems. We are inspired by the dedicated work by organizations and individuals to provide Savvy Caregiver programs to family caregivers, and we look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your commitment to better dementia care.
Carey and John
Carey Wexler Sherman, PhD
Principal and Co-Director
University of Minnesota assigned worldwide licensing rights to Savvy Systems, LLC in 2021. As the authorized licensee, Savvy Systems is committed to ensuring the sustainability, accessibility, and fidelity of Savvy Caregiver programs to enhance family members’ caregiving experiences through knowledge, skills, and mastery. It provides the latest versions of Savvy Caregiver materials, and manages licensing and copyright adherence.
Savvy Systems, LLC is a woman-owned small business based in Minneapolis, MN.