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Caring for a frail older person: the association between informal caregiver burden and being unsatisfied with support from family and friends

Background/objective: although informal caregivers (ICG) find caring for a relative mainly satisfying, it can be difficult at times and it can lead to a state of subjective burden characterised by -among others- fatigue and stress. The objective of this study is to analyse the relationship between perceived social support and subjective burden in providing informal care to frail older people. Methods: a descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted using data from a large nationwide longitudinal effectiveness study. Pearson correlations were calculated between the variables for support and burden. Logistic regression models were applied to determine the association between being unsatisfied with support and burden, taking into account multiple confounding variables. Results: of the 13,229 frail older people included in this study, 85.9% (N = 11,363) had at least one informal caregiver. Almost 60% of the primary informal caregivers manifested subjective burden, measured with the 12-item Zarit-Burden-Interview (ZBI-12). The percentage of informal caregivers that were unsatisfied with support from family and friends was on average 11.5%. Logistic regression analysis showed that being unsatisfied with support is associated with burden (OR1.85; 95%CI1.53–2.23). These results were consistent for the three groups of impairment level of the frail older persons analysed. Conclusions: the association between perceived social support and subjective caregiver burden was explored in the context of caring for frail older people. ICGs who were unsatisfied with support were more likely to experience burden. Our findings underline the importance of perceived social support in relation to caregiver burden reduction. Therefore efforts to improve perceived social support are worth evaluating.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
Oxford university press
ISBN/ISSN
00020729
Publication Year
2019
Issue Number
5
Journal Titles
Age and Ageing
Volume Number
48
Start Page
658
End Page
664