Family caregiving for dementia patients is a major social and clinical problem. Family caregivers face major stressful emotional, social and economic burdens, and the negative consequences associated with caregiving.
Social support has consistently been found to have an effect on caregiver outcomes. Generally emotional support and receiving assistance with caregiving tasks is associated with lowered feelings of burden and depression and higher wellbeing. Also, caregivers who engage in social and recreational activities and interact with family and friends are less depressed than caregivers who are more socially isolated. One critical source of social support for caregivers is the family. Family members can offer instrumental and emotional support to caregivers and ease the burdens associated with the demands of caregiving.
However, family interactions and pre-existing family conflicts can also exacerbate caregiver distress. Family variables that are related to caregiver distress include: marital conflict among caregiving daughters, family conflict, boundary ambiguity , problematic communication patterns and incongruence of family members’ appraisal of the care recipient. The beliefs that family members have about what influences events and circumstances during the course of dementia are powerful forces in determining how well caregivers cope with the demands of the illness.
A variety of services are available to assist caregivers and people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias during the stages of the disease process. While many caregivers benefit from support groups, some may find that they need more support. Included in this directory are offerings in the area of counseling to help with feelings of depression, anxiety, and frustration. When contacting an agency, please keep in mind that services differ from one place to another. We encourage you to ask questions that will help you determine which services best meet your needs.