Enabling Approach (EN)

The Enabling Approach  is a modality of interpersonal relationship based on the recognition of the interlocutor’s Basic Abilities. The goal is a Happy-enough Coexistence between the speakers.

In geriatrics the Enabling Approach has been introduced in the care of persons with Alzheimer’s disease by Pietro Vigorelli. It consists of a professional intervention that seeks to create an enabling environment in the location where frail elderly people live, with or without dementia.

In this environment they can exercise their Basic Abilities , especially the Speech Ability, as they are able to do – as they actually do – without feeling in error, and with the only aim of being happy in doing what they are doing.

The goal is to create the conditions for a Happy-enough Coexistence between elderly people, operators and  family members.

(Translation by Jeannine Lemaire)


  1. Vigorelli P. The Enabling Approach, an Italian Approach to Persons Living with Dementia , Brain Science and Neurosurgery vol1(1) Brain Science and Neurosurgery (BSAN) DOI: 10.1875 bsan.2024/001
  2. Benvenuti, N., Bolioli, A., Bosca, A., Mazzei, A., & Vigorelli, P. (2021). The “Corpus Anchise 320” and the analysis of conversations between healthcare workers and people with dementia. In Dell’Orletta, F., Monti, J., & Tamburini, F. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Seventh Italian Conference on Computational Linguistics CLiC-it 2020 : Bologna, Italy, March 1-3, 2021. Torino : Accademia University Press. doi :10.4000/books.aaccademia.8260,  51-57
  3. Vigorelli P. The Enabling Approach. Projects for elderly with dementia. Youcanprint 2019. book/ebook.
  4. Alessandro Lanzoni, Andrea Fabbo, Donatella Basso, Patrizia Pedrazzini, Elena Bortolomiol, Marc Jones, Omar Cauli. Interventions aimed to increase independence and well-being in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Review of some interventions in the Italian context. Neurology, Psychiatry and Brain Research. Volume 30, 2018, Pages 137-143, ISSN 0941-9500.
  5. Vigorelli P. The ABC Group for caregivers of persons living with dementia: self-help based on the Conversational and Enabling Approach. Non-pharmacological therapies in dementia. 2010; 3: 271-286. Free download.
  6. Ullo A., Oteri S., Cannavo D., Aguglia E., Larcan R. I “12 Passi” della “vittima nascosta” per la cura delle parole nella malattia di Alzheimer. 11th Congress of World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR). Milano, 10-13 novembre 2012. Atti pag 306.
  7. Vigorelli P.: Enabling Approach in Museum Projects for persons with dementia . With many voices. Museum projects for peple with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Key lecture 29 novembre 2012. Palazzo Strozzi, Florence.


  1. Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI: international federation of Alzheimer associations around the world)
  2. Alzheimer’s Association (USA)
  3. Alzheimer-Europe
  4. Psychogeriatric Association
  5. American Academy of Neurology
  6. American Psychiatric Association
  7. American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
  8. Reality Orientation Therapy
  9. Client-centered therapy (Carl R. Rogers)
  10. Validation Therapy (Naomi Feil)
  11. Reminiscence Therapy
  12. Bradford Dementia Group – GB 
  13. SPECAL Approach: Specialized Early Care for Alzheimer’s (UK)
  14. GENTLECARE Prosthetic Life Care System (Moyra Jones, Canada)
  15. CST: Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (Aimee Spector, GB)
  16. The Savvy Caregiver Program (University of Minnesota, USA)
  17. The mith of Alzheimers (P.J.Whitehouse, Cleveland, USA)
  18. Neuropsychologie Cognitive (Martial Van Der Linden, Genève, CH)
  19. Eden Alternative (William Thomas, New York, USA)
  20. AA – Alcoholics Anonymous
  21. Al – Anon
  22. Centre on Age and Community (Anne Basting – University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)


1. Enabling Approach (1:9)

2. Origin and method (1:21)

3. Basic Abilities (1:52)

4. Key concepts (1:52)

5. Recognition of Basic Abilities (1:03)

6. Tools and settings (2:34)