Practice example of a model developed to support carers in understanding and dealing with challenging behaviours. The Caregiver appraisal model is a prospective model of caregiver stress which has been developed by Northumberland County Behaviour Support Service. The model was developed from work with seven family caregivers over 12 months and provides a framework for managing their distress based on their appraisals of the situations confronting them. It is a cognitive behavioural model. The article describes how the model was developed, how it works and points of practice. Interventions directed at the person with dementia need to address unmet need. Interventions focusing on the caregiver cover three areas: psychoeducation, behavioural interventions and cognitive interventions. The authors conclude that the approach has been positively received by carers, although the sample size of cases is currently small and wider testing is required to validate its efficacy.