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J Gerontol Soc Work. 2005;46(1):47-63.

Depression and caregiver burden among rural elder caregivers.

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  • 1School of Social Work, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5770, USA.


Family caregivers of older adults frequently experience feelings of burden and depression though they may not come to the attention to health and service providers until they are at a point of crisis. Through a simple screening tool, the Maine Primary Partners in Caring (MPPC) project identified individuals providing care to older adults through rural primary care practices, in order to provide upstream interventions before caregivers were in crisis. This paper describes a sample (n=62) of rural family caregivers identified through their physicians' offices. High levels of caregiver burden and depression were reported. Family support and knowledge of caregiver tasks predicted decreased caregiver burden and depression, while isolation predicted increased caregiver burden. Implications of these results for gerontological social workers are outlined.

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