Vol. 15 nº 2 - Apr/May/Jun de 2021
Original Article Páginas: 248 a 255

Do you look for information about dementia? Knowledge of cognitive impairment in older people among their relatives

Authors Mariel Carolina Montiel-Aponte1; Paulo Henrique Ferreira Bertolucci2,3

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keywords: dementia, cognitive impairment, caregivers, relatives.

ABSTRACT:
Relatives and caregivers receive little information and have poor knowledge about cognitive impairment and dementia.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to identify beliefs about cognitive impairment and aging among people who are in contact with older people with and without cognitive impairment, hypothesizing that the fact of being a close relative influences or modifies these beliefs.
METHODS: Seventy-eight participants were classified into two groups; group 1: relatives of patients with cognitive impairment or dementia from a behavioral neurology outpatient clinic (n1=48); and group 2: relatives of patients without objective cognitive impairment from different services of a geriatric outpatient clinic (n2=30). All subjects were asked to answer a questionnaire containing single choice and true/false questions about causes and risk factors for dementia.
RESULTS: Participants were mainly females and first-degree relatives. No statistical differences were observed for age, schooling, or follow-up time between groups. Participants recognized Alzheimer's disease as the main cause of memory loss in older adults (group 1=34 vs. group 2=15); when asking about sources of information about cognitive impairment, the three more common answers were doctors and health professionals, Internet, and journals/books. Group 1 got higher scores on questions about causes and risk factors for dementia, but no statistical differences were found.
CONCLUSIONS: Dementia literacy is low even among the people in contact with this syndrome; caring for someone with dementia changes the concepts about memory and aging but only in a small proportion. Educational strategies to deal with misinformation can help to control risk factors and reduce the incidence of dementia.

 

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