• dementia;
  • primary care;
  • caregivers;
  • screening acceptance;
  • perceived harms and benefits

OBJECTIVES: To compare attitudes toward dementia screening of older adults with and without an experience of dementia caregiving.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional study.

SETTING: Primary care clinics in Indianapolis, Indiana.

PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-one participants with dementia caregiving experience (CG) and a random sample of 125 participants without dementia caregiving experience (NCG).

MEASUREMENTS: Attitudes of dementia screening, including acceptance of dementia screening and its perceived harms and benefits, as determined according to the Perceptions Regarding Investigational Screening for Memory in Primary Care questionnaire.

RESULTS: After adjusting for age, race, sex, and education, CGs had a lower dementia screening acceptance mean score (53.9 vs 60.6; P=.03) and a higher perceived suffering score (61.6 vs 55.9, P=.04) than NCGs, but there were no differences in perceived benefits of dementia screening (72.8 vs 69.0; P=.50), perceived stigma (32.9 vs 37.5; P=.12), and perceived negative effect on independence (47.6 vs 54.0; P=.20). The top three barriers to screening identified by both groups were emotional suffering by the family (86% of CGs and 75% of NCGs), loss of driving privileges (75% of CGs and 78% of NCGs), and becoming depressed (64% of CGs and 43% of NCGs).

CONCLUSION: The experience of being a dementia caregiver may influence one's own attitude about accepting dementia screening for oneself.