Relationships between income, subjective health and caregiver burden in caregivers of people with dementia in group living care: a cross-sectional community-based study

Signe Andrén, Sölve Elmståhl
International Journal of Nursing Studies 2007, 44 (3): 435-46

BACKGROUND: Family caregivers of relatives with dementia report higher level of psychological distress than other caregivers and report their self-related health as poorer than that of comparison groups.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the study was to examine characteristics of family caregivers and to assess whether income, subjective health, age and relationship were associated with the burden of care they experienced.

SETTING: Group living units in southern Sweden.

PARTICIPANTS: Fifty caregivers who served as informal caregivers of relatives with dementia in group living care.

DESIGN: Interviews regarding economic and social conditions and well-evaluated scales for health and caregiver burden (CB) were used.

RESULTS: The majority of the family caregivers were adult children, and twice as many were female than were males. The investigation showed that total burden, strain and disappointment, adjusted for health and age, were related to income. Disappointment showed a relation to subjective health. The adult children showed a significantly higher degree of total burden, irrespective of age, compared to other family caregivers. Low income was associated with a higher degree of burden among adult children. However, elderly participants experienced less of burden than younger ones.

CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that caregivers with low health profile and low income, especially adult children, are associated with higher CB.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: People with coexisting risk factors (low income, low perceived health) are the ones who may benefit most from health-oriented interventions.

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