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J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2001 Winter;14(4):179-87.

The costs of caring: impact of dementia on family caregivers.

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Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.


With the aging of the population, an increasing number of older adults are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder. Most people with a dementing illness will be cared for at home by a family member, who may experience a variety of physical, emotional, financial, and social burdens associated with the caregiving role. The purpose of this article is to (a) examine the physical and psychological effects of providing care to a family member with a dementing illness, (b) describe the factors that help determine the nature and magnitude of these effects, and (c) discuss several approaches to caregiver intervention designed to reduce the negative impact of this challenging role. Sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., gender, relationship to the patient, culture, race, ethnicity), caregiver resources (e.g., coping, social support, availability of a companion animal), and personal characteristics (e.g., personality, health behaviors) shape the dementia caregiving experience and have implications for interventions designed to prevent or lessen the stress and burden that often accompany the role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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