Support programmes for caregivers of persons with dementia: A review of methods and effects

R. M. Dröes, J. J.M. Goffin, E. Breebaart, E. de Rooij, H. Vissers, J. A.C. Bleeker, W. van Tilburg

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Over the next decades the number of persons with dementia will increase substantially. A growing percentage of these elderly persons will stay at home longer. On the one hand this is due to the limited capacity of nursing homes and in-patient care facilities, on the other to the government policy to offer people in need of assistance/care the opportunity to remain in their own homes as long as possible. As a result, the care for these elderly persons will have to be offered in the home situation much more frequently. This extramuralization of elderly mentally frail care raises new issues, such as: how do we organize this care and who cares for the persons with dementia in the absence of the professional caregiver (Bleeker 1994, 1997)? Until now much of this care was provided by spouses and family members, and to a lesser degree neighbours and friends also played a role. Caring for an elderly person with dementia is no easy task and it implies an emotional, physical, social and in the long run also financial burden (Morris 1988; Huckle 1994). Since the early 1980s there has been a growing awareness in the health care sector of the burden that family members experience and of the capricious adaptation process they go through. This awareness was generated in part by research that showed that family members develop more physical and emotional health problems, as well as decreased feelings of wellbeing, than the general population (Clark and Rakowski 1983; Nuy et al. 1984; Eagles et al. 1987; Cohen and Eisdorfer 1988; Brodaty and Hadzi-Pavlovic 1990; Coope et al. 1995; Fuller-Jonap and Haley 1995; Pot 1996). Unless effective measures are taken, the severity of problems of informal caregivers is expected to increase in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCare-Giving in Dementia V3
Subtitle of host publicationResearch and Applications Volume 3
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781135479732
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

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