The dementia caregiver--a primary care approach.

Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center and Extended Care and Research Services, VA Healthcare System, Miami, FL 33125, USA.
Southern medical journal (Impact Factor: 1.12). 12/2008; 101(12):1246-51. DOI: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e318187cccc
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Caring for loved ones with dementia is challenging and stressful for family members who have to provide the home care. The responsibility takes a huge physical, emotional, and financial toll on the caregivers, which is known as caregiver burden. The survival and quality of life of the dementia patient have been shown to be related to the well-being of the caregiver. An overwhelmed caregiver can result in premature institutionalization and increased health-care utilization, by both the patients and the caregivers. The physician should periodically assess caregivers for the level of perceived burden, presence of depression and anxiety, social support, behavioral problems in the care recipient, and coping strategies and help the patient and caregiver with advance care planning. Strategies that meld support, education, and practical counseling about common caregiving stresses and community resources seem to mitigate caregiver burden and depression.

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