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Predictors of psychological distress in caregivers of older persons with wet age-related macular degeneration

Objectives: Several studies have investigated the biopsychosocial impacts of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in regards to the older patient, little is known about the impacts associated with caring for individuals with AMD. We aimed to determine the predictors of subjective caregiver distress and other negative outcomes associated with caring for someone with advanced AMD.

Methods: Cross-sectional, self-complete survey involving 500 caregivers of persons with advanced AMD. Respondents were identified from the Macular Disease Foundation of Australia client database. Logistic regression tested the independent effects of care recipient and caregiver characteristics on study outcomes, including: caregiver psychological well-being, participation in recreational/social activities and retirement plans.

Results: Around one third of caregivers self-reported a high level of care recipient dependence. Over one in two caregivers reported a negative state of mind. Comorbid chronic illnesses in the care recipient were associated with the caregiver reporting psychological distress, multivariable-adjusted odds ratio, OR, 1.45 (95% confidence intervals, CI, 1.14–1.86). If the care recipient was highly dependent on the caregiver, there was 99% greater likelihood of caregiver distress, OR 1.99 (95% CI 1.01–3.93). Comorbid chronic conditions in the care recipient was associated with 49% and 31% higher odds of the caregiver reporting disruption to other areas of their life and retirement plans related to the caregiving experience, respectively.

Conclusions: A high prevalence of caregiver distress related to caring for persons with advanced AMD was observed. Level of dependence on the caregiver and presence of comorbid chronic illnesses were independent predictors of the caregiver experiencing psychological distress.

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Aging & Mental Health

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