Do family caregivers perceive more difficulty when they look after patients with early onset dementia compared to those with late onset dementia?

Authors

  • Asuna Arai,

    1. Department of Gerontological Policy, National Institute for Longevity Sciences (NILS), National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (NCGG), Aichi, Japan
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  • Teruhisa Matsumoto,

    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Ehime University School of Medicine, Ehime, Japan
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  • Manabu Ikeda,

    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Ehime University School of Medicine, Ehime, Japan
    2. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropathobiology, Faculty of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan
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  • Yumiko Arai

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Gerontological Policy, National Institute for Longevity Sciences (NILS), National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (NCGG), Aichi, Japan
    • Department of Gerontological Policy, National Institute for Longevity Sciences (NILS), National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (NCGG), 36-3 Gengo, Morioka-cho, Obu-shi, Aichi 474-8522, Japan.
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Abstract

Objective

To compare family caregiving situations for patients with early onset dementia (EOD) and late onset dementia (LOD), and to identify the specific problems experienced by relatives caring for EOD patients.

Methods

The participants were chosen from 92 consecutive caregiver–patient dyads, comprising co-residing family caregivers and outpatients who fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for dementia. The patients were assessed according to cognitive function, neuropsychiatric disturbances and the severity of dementia. The caregivers completed a self-administered questionnaire that included items on their sociodemographic status and caregiving situation. Caregiver burden was assessed by the Japanese version of the Zarit Burden Interview.

Results

In total, 68 dyads were eligible for the analysis, 14 of which included patients with EOD and 54 of which included patients with LOD. There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of patient clinical features, duration of caregiving, number of hours during which caregivers were relieved per day or number of hours of caregiving per day. No significant associations were detected between the type of dementia and caregiver characteristics (such as health status) or caregiver burden, even after adjusting for confounding variables. However, the caregivers of EOD patients had greater perceived difficulties due to patient behavioural disturbances than did the caregivers of LOD patients.

Conclusions

Our findings demonstrated that additional resources, such as care services, should be provided for sufferers of EOD, in order to allow family caregivers to cope with difficulties associated with patient behavioural problems. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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