APH 2004, 62, 157-172:

The burden of family care giving in dementia.

B. Schoenmakers, J. De Lepeleire, M. Ylieff, O. Fontaine, F. Buntinx

Keywords: dementia, caregiver, stress, depression, workload

Objectives: This paper reports the results of a descriptive field study in community dwelling elderly and their family caregivers.

Methods: As part of a larger field study research was done on the impact on the family caregiver of caring for a community dwelling demented elderly. A sample of caregivers was selected based upon the features of their care needing relative. The information was gathered using validated psychometric instruments. The results were analysed using bivariate models.

Results: Taking care of a community dwelling demented elderly reveals higher depression rates and feelings of burden in the family caregiver when compared with colleagues taking care of non demented relatives. An inadequate coping system in the caregiver and behavioral disturbances in the demented are strongly predictive for the negative impact of the homecare.

Conclusion: Caregivers of a community dwelling elderly are to be supported in their task in order to lower the psychosocial impact of the homecare situation.

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