Two groups of care-givers to dementia sufferers were interviewed to assess their psychological symptoms and the behaviour problems of the dementia sufferers. The first group were using special dementia day care while the second group were about to begin using it. The second group were re-interviewed three months later. Therefore two comparisons could be made; a with/without day care comparison and a before/after admission to day care comparison. Care-givers had a high level of psychological symptoms which were not significantly reduced by using day care. Full-time institutional care did reduce distress. Day centre clients continued to deteriorate as would be expected with a degenerative condition. While special dementia day care centres appear to play a useful role for many care-givers, they may provide too few hours relief per week to markedly reduce the care-givers' psychological symptoms. Family care-givers currently take the major role in caring for dementia sufferers in the community and the burden of care needs to be shared more equitably.