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Canadian Alzheimer's disease caregiver survey: baby-boomer caregivers and burden of care

Objective: Alzheimer's disease (AD) burdens not only the person, but also the person's caregiver(s). This burden has been linked to negative health effects for caregivers. To that end, a survey of Canadian caregivers of persons with AD/other dementias was conducted to investigate the social, physical, psychological and financial impact of AD and/or dementia-related conditions on caregivers' quality of life.

Methods: A web-based survey, the Canadian Alzheimer's Disease Caregiver survey, was made available through the Canadian Alzheimer's Society website and, an internet portal for baby boomers (BB) (people aged 50 years or older), as well as through HarrisDecima Research's e-Vox panel. A total of 398 individuals completed the survey between 15 September and 5 November 2006.

Results: Of the 398 total respondents, 221 were identified as baby boomers who provided care to an individual with AD/dementia. Respondents identified several areas of burden of care. These included negative effects on emotional health (such as increased depression, more stress and greater fatigue), financial costs and a need to change a working situation (e.g. by retiring early, reducing work hours or refusing a promotion).

Conclusion:Caregivers of persons with AD/related dementia face important social, physical, psychological and financial pressures. These negatively affect the quality of life of caregivers with a significant increased burden being placed on live-in caregivers versus caregivers who do not co-reside with their care recipients. Interventions that address these pressures will not only improve the health and well-being of caregivers, but likely also the care of persons with AD/dementia. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

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