A Community Education Curriculum Using Improvisational Theatre Techniques for Informal Dementia Caregivers


  • Britteny Howell University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Erik Dahl, PE Scared Scriptless Improv
  • Arianna Piech
  • Ann Farris, CDP




adult education, dementia, caregiving, communication, improvisational theatre


This article describes a novel communications curriculum created for family dementia caregivers using improvisational theatre techniques. Family caregivers often experience tremendous caregiving burdens with little support or training. Training programs for family caregivers have increased in recent years, but such programs rarely reduce feelings of caregiving burden and depression among family members. In this article, we provide a framework for a 6-week improvisational theatre program that focus on interpersonal communication and creating meaningful connections with care recipients in a fun and playful environment. Designed by professional improvisers, a gerontology researcher, and a dementia education specialist, our proposition is that this curriculum can be tailored for use in other community settings. Preliminary research on such programs demonstrates that improv has the ability to reduce caregiver burden and depression, which as implications for future caregiving policy.  



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