Associations of knowledge of Alzheimer's disease and memory loss and employment status with burden in African American and Caucasian family caregivers

Cathy B Scott, Olivio J Clay, Fayron Epps, Fawn A Cothran, Ishan C Williams
Dementia 2018 July 25, : 1471301218788147
Caring for an individual living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia is especially challenging and impacts every aspect of the lives of the family caregivers. Family caregiving is defined as informal, unpaid care provided by family or friends to people with a chronic illness or disability. Caregiver burden, often experienced by a caregiver for a cognitively impaired family member, is multifaceted involving physical, psychological, social, and emotional problems. To date, little has been done to examine the relationship between the knowledge of Alzheimer's disease and memory loss and caregiver burden. To fill this gap, a cross sectional, correlational design was employed to collect data from a convenience sample ( N = 104) of African American and Caucasian dementia family caregivers. For this study, caregivers ranged from 25 to 89 years of age with African American caregivers possessing significantly lower levels of knowledge about Alzheimer's disease and other dementias compared to Caucasian caregivers, p < .001. There were 44 caregivers who scored 41 or greater on the Caregiver Burden Inventory corresponding to moderate to severe and higher levels of burden. Results of hierarchical multiple regression models indicated that higher levels Alzheimer's disease knowledge was significantly associated with lower caregiver burden for all caregivers, B = -0.294, p < .01. Additionally, employment status was significantly associated with caregiver burden. This study highlights the benefits of including disease specific knowledge within educational components of dementia related interventions and programs involving families.

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