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Caregiver Burden: A Research Analysis

In a study conducted by Heejung Kim, Mido Chang, Karen Rose and Sunha Kim entitled “Predictors of caregiver burden in caregivers of individuals with dementia” published on June 2011, multidimensional predictors of caregiver burden, particularly for caregivers of people with dementia was shown. The data was deduced by using empirical and national representative data.

The data stipulated and interpreted was collected by National Alliance for Caregiving, American Association of Retired Persons. Empirical data was gathered through a questionnaire which implored the demographical data of both the caregivers and care-recipients. In order to make the research more reliable, the NAC/AARP also conducted phone calls. Respondents was not limited to American groups alone, as they also sample Asian and Hispanics to represent the minority.

Out of the 302 caregiver respondents, 57 percent constituted to females. This represented the stereotype that domestic care is female-dominated. Most of the caregivers are children of the care-recipients which comprised of 46% of the total respondents. This is understandable because it is also a way of giving back to your parents. However, one weak point of this data is that it was gathered in year 2003; while the report was conducted in 2011. The length of the time between those two years could imply that there could be a grave inconsistency in terms of results. Advances in nursing techniques might have helped caregivers of dementia lessen their burden.

Caregiver burden is defined as the stress experienced by caregivers due to domestic care situation. It is also important to note that the context of caregiver in this concept is those who regularly take care due to emotional attachment or personal situations. This excludes those who are professional trained caregivers. Caregiver burden negatively affects the overall well-being of both caregivers and their care-recipients. Significant predictors include impairment of daily activities, hours painstakingly devoted to caregiving, the use of coping strategies, and even spousal status and caregiver’s gender. Caregivers of patients with dementia usually exhibits depression due to poor coping strategies. They have also stated that caregivers also report physical difficulties; as they use more prescription medications and other services compared to those who are non-caregivers. This is further supported in an assessment journal created by Family Caregiver Alliance in collaboration with Benjamin Rose Institute of Aging (2012). Unlike professional caregivers such as nurses, informal domesticated caregivers have to undergo chronic stress more often.

This is also evident for parents who handle children with psychological or behavioral problems. Crucial stressors like parental anxiety, parental management of the child, financial obligations and getting enough professional attention for the child affects well-being of families.

Results showed that caregivers who older females, and the spouse of the care-recipients had experienced the highest level of caregiver burden. Dementia usually affects the memory of care-recipients which could emotionally and psychologically hurt the spouse for they have lived together for the longest time. Moreover, some children also have families and errands to attend to thus the spouse have to take care of the patient most of the time. This hampers the well-being of the caregiver also approaching late adulthood.

Overall, although the discrepancy of years was extremely apparent, the researchers were still able to interpret data comprehensively. The correlations were shown clearly; and even embodied a model which is the hierarchical multiple regression. This is an example why psychiatrists and psychologists are extremely important. Mental health problems do not only affect the patients but also those who take care of them. In line with this, click here to check a psychiatrist in Montreal who provides a range of traditional and advanced psychiatric therapies.

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