it aimed to analyze the scientific production of brazilian nursing, from 1979 to 2007, about the practices of the elderly's informal caregiver at home. this is a bibliographic review, with qualitative approach, developed in the period of june and july 2009, that studied thesis and dissertations published in the center of studies and researches in nursing' catalogs. to analyze the data collected, it was used the thematic categorization system. from eleven works identified, four categories brought out: activities done by the caregiver, difficulties in the quotidian of care, feelings lived by the caregiver and knowledge and experiences of the caregiver. knowledge of the work of these caregivers is critical for the actions of nurses and health team, addressing not only care for the elderly, but also of their caregivers.