Background: Because little attention has so far been paid to the impact of diabetes mellitus (DM) on caregiver burden in community settings, we sought to confirm the influence of DM on perceived caregiver burden among caregivers providing care to a home elderly person using data from the Nagoya Longitudinal Study of the Frail Elderly (NLS-FE).
Methods: The NLS-FE is a large prospective study of 1875 community-dwelling elderly. A total of 1592 pairs of dependents and caregivers were included in the analysis. The data we used in this study included the Japanese version of the Zarit Caregiver Burden Interview (J-ZBI), characteristics of caregivers and dependents, and caregiving situation. The pairs were sorted into one control and three DM groups: (i) no DM; (ii) DM taking no medications; (iii) DM taking oral medication only; and (iv) DM taking insulin. The differences in dependent and caregiver characteristics among the groups were assessed.
Results: Two hundred and twenty-eight dependents from the NLS-FE study had DM. Of these, 25% took no medication to treat it, 55% took oral medications only, and 20% used insulin. No statistical differences were found in age, gender or kinship among caregivers. No differences were found among the DM categories in levels of caregiver burden according to the J-ZBI, before and after adjusting for these baseline variables.
Conclusions: Among the community-dwelling frail elderly, DM is not an independent predictor of caregiver burden.