PROFILING FAMILY CARERS OF PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA: RESULTS FROM A NATIONAL SURVEY

Abstract Ref: 
0153

Attracta Lafferty1, Gerard Fealy1, Áine Teahan1, Eilish McAuliffe1, Amanda Phelan1,
Liam O’Sullivan2, Diarmuid O’Shea3
1University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
2Care Alliance Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
3St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

Background: The majority of care for people with dementia is provided by family carers,
many of whom are adult children and spouses. Caring for a family member with dementia
can be demanding, stressful and challenging and can sometimes have negative effects
on the carer. This paper presents findings from a national survey of family carers in
receipt of a carer’s allowance for care they provide to an older relative with dementia.
Methods: An anonymous postal survey was conducted with 4,000 recipients of a carer’s
allowance for care of an older person and a total of 2,311 completed questionnaires were
returned (Lafferty et al. 2014). Secondary analysis was conducted on a sample subset of
485 family carers who provided care to a person with a diagnosis of dementia. The aim
of the analysis was to profile dementia caregivers, including information on their health
and wellbeing and caregiving activities, and also to develop profiles of the care-recipients
with dementia.
Results: Findings show that carers’ age ranged from 20 to 92 years with a mean age of
57.7 (SD=13.3). The majority of family carers of people with dementia were female
(72.6%), married (65.3%), had no other dependants (61.5%) and were the adult children
of the care recipients (52.9%). When compared to family carers of people without
dementia, carers experienced greater symptoms of depression and carer stress. Over half
of dementia carers (51.3%) were at risk of developing clinical depression, while just under
half (46.8%) reported experiencing moderate to severe or severe levels of carer burden.
Conclusions: This paper provides important information about family carers of people
with dementia, which can be used to inform health and social policy in Ireland, and
move towards meeting the needs of this particular subset of family carers.