The stress and psychological morbidity of the Alzheimer patient caregiver

Ma Teresa González-Salvador, Celso Arango, Constantine G. Lyketsos, Alfredo Calcedo Barba

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Abstract

Background. Alzheimer's family caregivers suffer from psychological and physical morbidity associated with the care of the Alzheimer's patient. The objectives of the study were to compare stress and psychological morbidity between family caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients and family caregivers of aged non-demented chronically ill patients and to explore the impact of cognitive and non-cognitive patient symptoms on caregivers. Method. Fifty-eight caregivers of Alzheimer's patients (cases) and 32 caregivers of non-demented chronically ill patients (controls) were studied. A cross-sectional case-control design was employed using validated scales to assess patient symptomatology and self-report questionnaires to measure stress and psychological morbidity in caregivers. Results. Compared to controls, stress and psychological morbidity were higher in caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. Behavioral symptoms and impairment in instrumental activities of daily living were associated with caregiver stress. Length of care was associated with caregiver psychological morbidity. Conclusions. Caregiver stress may be reduced with special attention paid to the treatment and management of behavioral and functional symptoms in the Alzheimer's disease patient. Caregiver education and coping skills should also be included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-710
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of geriatric psychiatry
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1999

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Keywords

  • Alzheimer disease
  • Caregiver
  • Psychological morbidity
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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