Elders with dementia living in the community with and without caregivers: An epidemiological study

Krista L. Prescop, Hiroko Dodge, Richard K. Morycz, Richard M. Schulz, Mary Ganguli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Previous studies of dementia and family caregiving have focused on individuals seeking diagnosis and treatment, and have rarely been conducted in representative community samples. Identifying demented individuals participating in a community survey, we determined (a) the factors associated with demented elderly living alone; (b) the factors associated with the demented elderly having caregivers; (c) the factors associated with increased levels of burden among caregivers of persons with dementia. Population and Methods: During an epidemiological survey of a mostly rural U.S. community, the authors identified 116 noninstitutionalized elderly individuals with dementia. These individuals were classified into those living alone and those living with others; both groups were further classified into those with and without identifiable family caregivers. Characteristics of both caregivers and care recipients were examined. Results: Approximately a third of the subjects with dementia lived alone, and only half of them had caregivers. The average age of the caregivers was 67.4 years, and 73% of them were women. Almost half of the caregivers were spouses, whereas almost a third were offspring, of the demented individuals. Over two thirds of caregivers lived with the subjects. Female caregivers were significantly younger than male caregivers. Multivariate analyses revealed that subjects with dementia who were living alone were independently and significantly more likely to be women and to have dementias of shorter duration, lesser severity, and lesser functional impairment than those living with others. Demented subjects with caregivers were more likely to have greater dementia severity, functional impairment, and cognitive impairment and more current cognitive and behavioral symptoms than those without caregivers. Demented subjects whose caregivers reported higher levels of burden were more likely to be women and to have greater dementia severity, functional impairment, and cognitive impairment and more current symptoms than those whose caregivers had no/minimal burden. Conclusions: These results draw attention to the problems of persons with dementia living alone, particularly those without caregivers. Our data also provide epidemiological confirmation of previous clinical/volunteer studies of dementia caregiving, as well as a preliminary assessment of need in the community at large. Living arrangements and caregiver issues should be taken into account when planning services for the elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-250
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

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Caregivers
Dementia
Epidemiologic Studies
Epidemiologic Methods
Behavioral Symptoms
Neurobehavioral Manifestations
Needs Assessment
Rural Population
Volunteers
Multivariate Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Aging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Elders with dementia living in the community with and without caregivers : An epidemiological study. / Prescop, Krista L.; Dodge, Hiroko; Morycz, Richard K.; Schulz, Richard M.; Ganguli, Mary.

In: International Psychogeriatrics, Vol. 11, No. 3, 1999, p. 235-250.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Prescop, Krista L. ; Dodge, Hiroko ; Morycz, Richard K. ; Schulz, Richard M. ; Ganguli, Mary. / Elders with dementia living in the community with and without caregivers : An epidemiological study. In: International Psychogeriatrics. 1999 ; Vol. 11, No. 3. pp. 235-250.
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