The Functional Ability of MCI and Alzheimer's Patients Predicts Caregiver Burden

Jose Lara-Ruiz, Kaitlyn Kauzor, Katie Gonzales, Marina Z. Nakhla, Dayana Banuelos, Ellen Woo, Liana G. Apostolova, Jill Razani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Research shows that caregivers of dementia patients experience burden and psychological distress, but it is unclear whether or not caregivers of individuals with cognitive impairments that do not meet a diagnosis for dementia also experience similar burdens and psychological problems. Sixty patients and their caregivers participated in this study designed to examine caregiver burden. The patients completed activities-of-daily-living tasks and several neuropsychological tests assessing memory, abstract reasoning, and language. Caregivers completed self-report measures assessing caregiver burden and psychological distress. Results revealed that the caregivers of patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (mAD) reported greater physical burden and feelings of missing out on life compared to individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) caregivers. The mAD caregivers indicated greater depression and anxiety relative to MCI caregivers. Stepwise regression found that patient neuropsychological scores were worse predictors of caregiver burden than patients' daily functioning. The conclusions of this study suggest that (1) caregivers of mAD are likely to experience more severe types of burden and psychological distress relative to caregivers of MCI patients, and that (2) patients' daily functional abilities better predict caregivers' burden and psychological distress than patients' neuropsychological functioning. Study findings suggest that caregivers of those in the early stages of dementia, even in persons not yet meeting a diagnosis, experience psychological symptoms and burden, and that these caregivers' experiences can be best predicted by the patients daily functional ability than by patients' neuropsychological test scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalGeroPsych: The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • caregiver burden
  • cognitive ability
  • functioning ability
  • mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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