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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2015 Sep;30(9):891-9. doi: 10.1002/gps.4232. Epub 2014 Dec 4.

Caregiver burden characterization in patients with Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia.

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Geriatric Unit and Laboratory of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Department of Medical Sciences, IRCCS "Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza", San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italy.
Geriatrics Unit, Azienda ULSS 16, Padova, Italy.
Neurodegenerative Disease Unit, Department of Basic Medicine, Neuroscience, and Sense Organs, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.



To characterize the differences of caregiver burden in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) in order to improve the care counselling and management plan.


We included 506 patients consecutively attending the Alzheimer's Evaluation Unit of a Geriatric Unit, evaluated with Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR), Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, and Neuropsychiatric Inventory. To all caregivers were administered the Caregiver Burden Inventory (CBI), a 24-item multidimensional questionnaire in which 5 subscales explore 5 dimensions of caregiver burden: (1) CBI-Objective; (2) CBI-Developmental; (3) CBI-Physical; (4) CBI-Social; and (5) CBI-Emotional.


The present study included, respectively, 253 AD patients and 253 VaD patients. AD patients at baseline showed a significantly higher instruction level (p < .0001), higher grade of cognitive impairment (MMSE, p < .0001), and increased severity stage of dementia (CDR, p < .0001) than VaD patients. AD caregivers, mainly females (p = 0.010), devoted significantly more length of time care (in months, p = 0.010) and time of daily care (in hours, p = 0.011) and showed a significantly higher burden level in CBI-Objective (p = 0.047), CBI-Physical (p < .0001), CBI-Social (p = 0.003), CBI-Emotional (p < .0001), and CBI-total score (p < .0001), than VaD caregivers. In both caregiver groups, a higher presence of spouses and sons (p < .0001) compared to other relatives was observed. AD caregiver burden showed a significant association with sex of caregivers and length of time care in months.


AD caregivers showed a higher burden level than VaD caregivers, and this appeared to be associated with sex and length of time care.


Alzheimer's disease; caregiver burden; vascular dementia

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