The burden of distress and related coping processes in family caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease living in the community

Alberto Raggi, Domenica Tasca, Simonetta Panerai, Walter Neri, Raffaele Ferri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Many patients with dementia live in the community and depend on a family member for assistance. Taking care of non-self-sufficient people such as those with dementia causes distress. This study concerns factors contributing to feelings of burden and consequent coping strategies adopted by family caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease living in the community. Methods The severity of the caregiver burden (Caregiver Burden Inventory and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Caregiver Distress Scale) was evaluated in relation to the cognitive, behavioral, functional, mood, motor and comorbidity status in 73 consecutive patients with Alzheimer's disease. The type of coping processes (Coping Orientation to Problem Experienced), and psychosocial and medical variables of caregivers were also investigated and correlated with the degree of their distress. Results The amount of burden for caregivers, was found to be positively correlated with several measures of cognitive, psychological, behavioral, and motor impairment of the patients. The severity of caregiver distress was correlated with specific coping strategies, such as seeking for social support, using avoidance behaviors and focusing on problems. Finally, caregivers needing higher levels of familial and/or social support had also higher levels of distress. Conclusions Higher cognitive, psychological, behavioral, and motor impairment of patients with Alzheimer's disease are associated with increasing levels of burden and distress in their caregivers, who need to adopt adequate coping strategies and to seek for familial and social support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-81
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Volume358
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2015

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Caregiver
  • Coping strategy
  • Dementia
  • Feeling of burden
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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