Adult-children of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients experience a higher level of caregiver strain in Malaysia

The role of caregivers is a central and integral part of the management of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. Although care-giving may bring personal gains and satisfaction, caregivers most often provide these services to the society and their family members at substantial personal cost, including emotional and social burden. Research indicated that caregivers with low resilience may require more assistance managing. In this cross sectional study, strains levels and resilience levels of the AD caregivers were assessed and correlated with various patients and caregivers’ factors. 230 participants were recruited through Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM). The findings of this study revealed that adult-children of Alzheimer’s patients carried out the main care-giving role, and they experienced significant level of caregiver strain.  Hence, the female caregivers scored higher in strain index compared to the male caregivers. In contrast, male caregivers reported a significantly higher level of resilience. Being a male caregiver has been reported to be positively related to higher caregiver resilience by Joling et al (2016). Research demonstrated that women caregivers mainly adopt emotion-focused strategies and this style is related to a higher level of distress, whereas, male caregivers mainly adopt task-oriented strategies, which is associated with lower distress (Iavarone, Ziello, Pastore, Fasanaro & Poderico, 2014). Moreover, the cultural expectation associated with family duties to believe care for elderly should be provided by women may impose extra burden on them (Meyer, 2017). This research showed that the number of years of care provided by caregivers is significantly associated with the strain score; as the number of care-giving years increases, the caregivers experience a higher level of stains. These risk factors can help identify those caregivers at highest risks of strain and serve as a platform to test interventions to help alleviate this strain. The significant negative correlation between resilience level and caregiver strain further highlighted the importance of interventions for increasing resilience in Alzheimer’s disease caregivers. For substantiation of the current findings, future studies addressing the appropriateness of interventions to improve the family caregivers’ resilience level, and supports for Alzheimer’s disease patients to empower them in performing their daily tasks that can reduce the imposed burden on caregivers are required.

This paper has been publish in Geriatric Nursing journal:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30765175

 

ADFM Day Care Centre Community Project

A group of Medical Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Pharmacy students from IMU were involved in an initiative with ADFM with the main objective of providing support and encouragement to people living with Alzheimer’s Disease by sharing the joy of carrying out basic activities and meaningful fun and games. They also sought to help the individuals develop new skills and enhance existing ones, so that they might undertake new hobbies or rediscover old memories of activities done in the past.

The role ADFM plays is quite significant with efforts ranging from practical and emotional support of the patients and their families, caregiving services like day care centre, repository and nursing services as well as media exposure to promote community knowledge as well as talks, workshops and exhibitions. The students gave their focus on the day care centre housing more than 40 individuals, who are cared by trained therapists and nurses every day.

Their first visit on 1 March 2018 saw a presence of about 30 patients and 10 staff. The day starting off with some light aerobics designed to improve muscular coordination, followed by mind games like Bingo and memory card games, which helped the team gauge the abilities of each of the patients. The pace was then switched to more physical activities such as singing and light dancing. The station games after lunch was the highlight of the day, consisting of a variety of activities such as planting, light cooking, arts and crafts and mini-petting zoo, of which had particularly great reception. The activities presented to the patients were researched in advance to ensure that they were suitable in relation to Alzheimer’s Disease and age.

The project leader reports that he, at the end, learnt to work together with his team, built bonds between people of different programmes, and gained insight on the trials and tribulations undergone by Alzheimer’s patients. In particular, he notes a realization that we could be at any end of the spectrum when we reach an elderly age, and thusly should not take for granted opportunities given in the present as this disease can affect family members, friends, and possibly ourselves.