Revista Cubana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 0864-3466
ESPIN ANDRADE, Ana Margarita. Psychosocial characterization of informal caregivers of older adults suffering from dementia. Rev. cub. salud pública [online]. 2008, vol.34, n.3, pp. 1-12. ISSN 0864-3466. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0864-34662008000300002.
Introduction: Population aging is beyond any doubt the main demographic feature in Cuba at present day and in prospect, given its economic and social implications. Objectives: To describe demographic, social, psychological and other kind of characteristics of 61 informal caregivers of persons suffering from dementia who had been treated at the Ibero-American Center of the Old Age located in the City of Havana from 2004 to 2005. Methods: The Characterization Questionnaire and the Psychosocial Scale of the Caregiver were the means to collect data. Results: The studied informal caregivers were females aged 40 to 59 years, daughters of the sick persons, married, non-working women at that time and predominantly with a university degree. The majority of caregivers took care of the sick people because of affectionate reasons, was inexperienced in managing a chronically ill patient and had spent less than a year in doing this task. They did not have any sort of information about the disease, suffered nervous, bone and muscle problems and their strategy to address the situation was mainly to look for third-party support. The socioeconomic effects basically centered in little leisure time, financial restrains and family conflicts. The most frequent negative feelings were anguish, anger, fear and hopelessness. Conclusions: Informal caregivers are affected in multiple ways related to their physical and mental health, as well as in the economic and social fields, so it is urgent to look for supporting alternatives since, in addition to the stated difficulties, the caregivers do not have basic information about dementia and the problems that the affected older person may face, despite the fact that most of them have higher educational level.
Keywords : Informal caregiver; dementia; dependent aged person.