Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the levels of stress, anxiety and depression of informal carers caring for someone with dementia in a rural setting.
Methods: Carers of people with dementia were recruited to complete a survey that incorporated the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) to measure carer emotional well-being. The survey also included the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (NPI-Q), which assesses the presence and severity of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) of care recipients and their effects on the carer.
Results: A total of 39 carers completed surveys. Almost half of the respondents reported levels of stress and depression in the moderate to severe range as measured on the DASS. BPSD exhibited by care recipients, such as agitation, anxiety, aggression and nocturnal disturbance, were associated with the level of stress reported by the carer as measured with the NPI-Q.
Conclusion: Caring for care recipients who exhibit BPSD predisposes carers in rural areas to high levels of stress and depression. Regular, periodic screening of carers is required to detect abnormal levels of stress, depression and anxiety in order to enable timely introduction of interventions.