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:


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