Vol. 5 nº 2 - Apr/May/Jun de 2011
Original Article Páginas: 114 a 122

Elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease and their family relationships: Caregiver perspectives

Authors Meire Cachioni1; Thaís Bento Lima-Silva2; Tiago Nascimento Ordonez3; Juliana Galo-Tiago3; Ana Regina Alves3; Milena Yuri Suzuki3; Deusivania Vieira da Silva Falcão4

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keywords: elderly, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, family relationships.

ABSTRACT:
Objective: The present study was to investigate the status of the family relationships of elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease from a caregiver's perspective. Methods: A total of sixteen relatives/caregivers of AD patients were assessed by applying a semi-structured questionnaire about family relationships. Frequency tables containing categorical variables (gender, schooling, personal income and current occupation) were compiled. Descriptive statistics were calculated of continuous variables such as age. Answers to open questions were submitted to Bardin's content analysis. The data were held on the Epidata program and statistical analysis was performed using the SPSS v.17.0 software package. Results: In line with the literature, the family was the main source of caregivers and the typical caregiver profile was female. In contrast to other studies, emotional burnout was not a major complaint in the sample studied. The ties created among family members and the life experience of each individual influences how interviewees cope with AD. Conclusion: The family relationships of caregivers of AD patients represent a constant challenge, due to changes in roles within the family structure as well as to disease progression. However, participation in psychological and socio-educational activities run by pioneering institutions in Brazil, act as a mediator of stress in the lives of both caregivers and patients.

 

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