Psychological health of caregivers of people with dementia is a major public concern. This study sought to determine the relationship between caregiver burden, psychological distress, frailty and functional dependency of a relative with advanced dementia. Persons with dementia and their caregivers (102 dyads) participated in this Portuguese community based cross-sectional study. Data were collected using the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, a sociodemographic questionnaire, the Zarit Burden Interview, the Brief Symptoms Inventory and the Edmonton Frail Scale. Alzheimer's disease was the most common type of dementia among the recipients of care, who showed moderate (42.2%) to severe (52.9%) dementia. Among them 35.3% exhibited moderate and 45.1% severe frailty. Family caregivers reported moderate (76.5%) to severe burden (18.6%). Psychological distress was very high among family caregivers. Results show that people with dementia exhibited moderate (35.3%) or severe frailty (45.1%) and that a severe frailty was found in people with moderate dementia. A one-way ANOVA was conducted between the Global Severity Index and some sociodemographic variables. ANOVA reached p <.01 for employment status of the caregiver, assistance and professional support, and psychiatric history; and p = 0.01 for caregiver age and years of caregiving. Although caregivers reported benefit from the supportive approach offered by the multidisciplinary home care team, high levels of distress and associated burden were found, which might decrease their capacity to care for the person with dementia and their own health and well-being.
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- School of Health and Life Sciences - Professor