Dementia Caregiver Studies

Testing ways to minimize stress and promote health in family caregivers of people with dementia.

Welcome to the Dementia Caregiver Studies of Case Western Reserve University. For over a decade, we have learned from caregivers and for caregivers. Led by Dr. Jaclene Zauszniewski, an internationally recognized nurse-scientist and Distinguished Faculty Researcher Award recipient of CWRU, we provide opportunities for family caregivers to participate in a number of research projects that all share a common goal: helping caregivers to better manage stress and stay healthy. 

Our current projects, both funded by the National Institutes of Health, are focused on adult family members of persons experiencing a progressive memory problem or dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on both her research and her personal experience, Dr. Zauszniewski recognized that caregiving includes family members who provide support and supervision at home, those who partner with a care facility where an impaired family member now lives, and even bereaved former caregivers who have recently lost their loved one. All three of these types of family caregivers are welcome to participate in our research projects.

Study participants will learn one of a number of stress management methods that may help to better manage caregiver stress and promote a healthy body and mind. Participants complete 2 or 3 interviews during the course of the next year to assess whether the strategies were helpful. In addition to the possible benefit of the method learned, and the satisfaction of helping other caregivers, participants are compensated for their time. 

We are currently enrolling new participants, and invite you to Contact Us now to see if you are eligible to participate.

Contact Us

Evelina DiFranco, MPH

Project Manager

Phone: 216.368.8848


Meet the Team

Principal Investigator


Headshot of Jaclene Zauszniewski smiling.

Jaclene Zauszniewski, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, is the Kate Hanna Harvey Professor in Community Health Nursing. "Dr. Z" is known for her pioneering work on personal and social resourcefulness as it relates to managing stress, depression and chronic illness. As a psychiatric nurse scientist, Dr. Z has conducted five NIH-funded studies and has mentored countless students in the PhD nursing program at Case Western Reserve University.

Faculty Associates

Christopher Burant, PhD, MACTM, FGSA; Co-Investigator

Evanne Juratovac, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, Intervention Supervisor

Eva Kahana, PhD, CPMA; Co-Investigator

Martha Sajatovic, MD, Co-Investigator

Team Members

Evelina DiFranco, MPH; Project Manager

Richard J. Martin; PhD, DNP, MBA, RN, CFP®; Research Associate

Elizabeth Williams, PhD, RN; Research Associate

Barbara Boveington-Molter, MS; Research Assistant

AnnMarie Papik, BS; Research Assistant

Kari Zimmermann, MA; Research Assistant

Edna Fuentes-Casiano, MSSA, LSW; Research Assistant

Hangying She, RN; PhD student; Research Assistant

John S. Sweetko, MSN, RN, CPEN, CNE, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, PhD Candidate; Research Assistant

Previous Research

Teaching Resourcefulness to Women Caregivers of Elders with Dementia

Principle Investigator: Jaclene Zauzsniewski

Co-Investigators: Diana Morris, Amy Zhang

The goal of this R21 Exploratory Research Grant was to pilot test an adapted intervention that teaches personal and social resourcefulness skills to women caregivers of elders with dementia. This pilot study provided qualitative and quantitative data for examining the six parameters of Resourcefulness Training© (RT) that were believed to be essential for strengthening the scientific rationale for a subsequent full scale randomized controlled trial.  Within the context of a modified partially randomized preference trial with 138 women dementia caregivers, the necessity, acceptability, feasibility, fidelity, safety, and effectiveness of two innovative methods of RT were investigated. The results suggested a substantial need for RT in women caregivers of elders with dementia and support moving forward with testing RT effectiveness for reducing caregiver stress and depressive symptoms.