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Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2005 May-Jun;20(3):181-90.

Instrumental help and caregivers' distress: effects of change in informal and formal help.

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Department of Human Development, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.


Family caregivers of persons with dementia rely on a range of resources to provide care and cope with caregiving stressors. Informal (unpaid) and formal (paid) instrumental support contribute to diverse caregiver outcomes. Previous research of caregiver support has focused on subjective measures of help or has compared caregivers receiving formal services to those who do not. We focused instead on the effects of change in the amount of formal and informal instrumental assistance on caregivers' distress. We expected that greater gains in assistance would be associated with greater reduction of caregivers' distress. Increases informal but not informal levels of assistance were associated with improvement in each measure of distress. Additional measures may be needed to fully understand the effects of informal and formal assistance.

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