Improving care and quality of life for people with dementia often relies on the skills and abilities of family members who provide care and represent their loved one as their ability to communicate needs and preferences diminish. Family members assume many roles in dementia care, starting at home, then during transitional levels of care, and even after admission to residential care settings, which makes them both direct care providers and critical members of the healthcare team. As dementia progresses, caregivers often become the key reporters and decision-makers when communicating with health care providers. They can share with providers about their loved one's personal history, lifelong characteristics, values and preferences that are essential to providing high quality care. Therefore, providing family members with the skills to act as dementia care partners with formal care providers is essential to promoting optimal outcomes for persons with dementia.