Cohen CA, Colantonio A, Vernich L. Positive aspects of caregiving: rounding out the caregiver experience

Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.87). 02/2002; 17(2):184-8. DOI: 10.1002/gps.561
Source: PubMed


To identify positive aspects of caregiving and examine how they are associated with caregiver outcomes.
This study used a national sample of caregivers derived from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (part 2). Two hundred and eighty-nine caregivers caring for seniors living in the community were questioned about their experience of caregiving. Caregivers were asked whether they could identify any positive aspects related to their role, the type of positive aspects and to rate their feelings about caring. Using a conceptual model developed by Noonan and Tennstedt (1997), a staged stepwise multiple regression approach was used factoring the background/contextual variables, stressor variables (3 MS score, ADL limitations), mediator variables (positive aspects of caregiving, number of services used) and outcome variables (depression, burden and self-assessed health measures) into the model.
Two hundred and eleven caregivers (73%) could identify at least one specific positive aspect of caregiving. An additional 20 (6.9%) could identify more than one positive aspect. Positive feelings about caring were associated with lower CES-D scores ( p<0.001), lower burden scores ( p<0.001) and better self assessed health ( p<0.001).
Clinicians should inquire about the positive aspects of caregiving if they are to fully comprehend the caregiver experience and identify risk factors for negative caregiver outcomes.

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    • "In one study, nearly 75% of caregivers of PWD could identify at least one caregiving benefit, including companionship, fulfillment, and enjoyment (Cohen, Colantonio, & Vernich, 2002). Further, caregivers reporting satisfaction with their role and greater benefit from caregiving also reported greater life satisfaction (Haley, Lamonde, Han, Burton, & Schowetter, 2003) and were less likely to experience depression, burden or poor health (Cohen et al., 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Spousal caregivers of persons with dementia often have difficulty engaging persons with dementia in leisure activities. This qualitative descriptive study identifies how caregivers perceive their spouses' participation in leisure activities since dementia onset and the professional guidance caregivers require to increase persons with dementia participation in shared leisure activities. Nine spousal caregivers from a hospital-based caregiver intervention attended one of three focus groups. Using symbolic interactionism and selective optimization with compensation theory as guiding frameworks, thematic content analysis was performed. Three major themes were identified: Recognizing and acknowledging changes, Making sense of changes and conflicts, and Embracing changes and forging ahead. Findings can be used by healthcare providers to better understand caregivers' needs for engaging persons with dementia in shared leisure activities, and inform development of feedback protocols to enhance caregiver interventions. © The Author(s) 2015 Reprints and permissions:
    Dementia 02/2015; DOI:10.1177/1471301215570680
    • "Potential benefits from care-giving through improved quality of the relationship with the care recipient, role satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment (Carbonneau et al. 2010) may contribute to health improvement in non-working male high caregivers. Care-giving satisfaction has been associated with health and well-being crosssectionally (Cohen et al. 2002), but the evidence for gender differences is limited (Del-Pino-Casado et al. 2012). There is more evidence to support differential negative impacts. "
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    ABSTRACT: Informal carers represent a substantial proportion of the population in many countries and health is an important factor in their capacity to continue care-giving. This study investigated the impact of care-giving on the mental and physical health of informal carers, taking account of contextual factors, including family and work. We examined health changes from before care-giving commenced to 2 and 4 years after, using longitudinal data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey. The sample comprised 424 carers and 424 propensity score-matched non-carers. Health was self-assessed, measured with the SF-36 Health Survey Mental Health (MH) and Physical Functioning (PF) scales. Care-giving was classified as non-carer, low (<5 hours/week), moderate (5–19 hours/week) and high (20 or more hours/week). PF and MH change scores were regressed on baseline scores, care-giving, covariates (including work, family and socio-demographic characteristics) and interactions to identify impacts for subgroups. The physical and mental health impacts differed by gender, and care-giving hours and carer work hours were important contextual factors. Deterioration in both PF and MH was worse for females after 2 years and deterioration in MH was worse for males after 4 years. Among carers aged 40–64 years, there was a 17-point decline in PF (P = 0.009) and a 14-point decline in MH (P < 0.0001) after 2 years for female high caregivers working full-time and 9.3 point improvement (P = 0.02) for non-working male high caregivers. Change was not significant for non-carers. The study found that not all carers suffer adverse health impacts; however, the combination of high levels of care-giving with workforce participation can increase the risk of negative physical and mental health effects (particularly in female carers). Working carers providing high levels of care represent a vulnerable subgroup where supportive and preventive services might be focused.
    Health & Social Care in the Community 08/2014; 22(6). DOI:10.1111/hsc.12136 · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    • "This concept is consistent with the literature dating to the 1980s (George & Gwyther, 1986; Zarit, Reever, & Bach-Peterson, 1980), which claimed that caring for persons diagnosed with dementia in the community placed a major burden on caregivers, resulting in adverse psychological and physical consequences in caregivers. Additionally, Cohen et al. (2002) showed that the presence of few positive aspects is an indicator that caregivers will be at risk for being overwhelmed by their caring situation and therefore will be more likely to report depression, burden or poor health. Again, this result might be explained by the decrease in the BPSD as the dementia severity progresses. "
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