Direct Care Workers Are the Foundation of a Dementia-Capable Workforce


Kezia Scales and Laura M. Wagner

April 12, 2023

Up to half of all individuals who receive long-term services and supports (LTSS) are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Direct care workers provide most of the care across LTSS and are the foundation of a dementia-capable workforce—yet they are underprepared, under-recognized, and undervalued for their role. This article outlines four strategies for bolstering direct care workers’ contribution to dementia care, namely: strengthen and stabilize the workforce; integrate dementia-specific competencies in direct care training requirements and programs; design, pilot-test, and replicate dementia specialist roles; and strengthen research on dementia care policy and practice.