Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Caregivers and their relatives disagree about care given, received

Date:
August 1, 2011
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Caregivers and their relatives who suffer from mild to moderate dementia often have different perceptions regarding the amount and quality of care given and received. A new study examined a major source of those differences -- caregivers do not understand the things that are important to their relatives with dementia.

Caregivers and their relatives who suffer from mild to moderate dementia often have different perceptions regarding the amount and quality of care given and received. A study by researchers at Penn State and the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging examined a major source of those differences -- caregivers do not understand the things that are important to their relatives with dementia.

Related Articles


"Family caregivers often become the surrogate decision makers of relatives who have dementia, so the two groups need to communicate well and to understand each other," said Steven Zarit, a professor and head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State and the study's leader. "Unfortunately, in our study we found that family caregivers and their relatives often do not understand each other well when it comes to the values they hold about giving and receiving care."

The team interviewed 266 pairs of people, each composed of an individual with mild to moderate dementia and his or her family caregiver. To participate in the study, caregivers had to be the primary family caregiver of the dementia patient and the dementia patient had to be living in his or her own home. The researchers interviewed members of the pairs separately, asking questions related to how much value they place on five core values: autonomy, burden, control, family and safety. For example, one question focused on the level of importance a dementia patient gave to the ability to spend his or her own money in the way he or she wants.

"Our results demonstrate that adult children underestimate the importance that their relatives with dementia placed on all five core values," said Zarit. "For example, the person with dementia might think it is very important to continue to be part of family celebrations, but his or her caregiver might not." The team's results will appear in the August issue of The Gerontologist.

According to Zarit, a major reason for differences in these perceptions is that caregivers come to view people with dementia as unable to make their own decisions about daily life. "That is something that does happen as the disease progresses, but the people in our study remained capable of making decisions for themselves and could express their values in a clear and direct way," said Zarit. "Caregivers who still saw the person with dementia as able to direct his or her daily life were also more in tune with that person's values and beliefs."

This lack of agreement about how care is provided has ominous implications for when the dementia worsens. "As people's cognitive abilities decline," Zarit said, "they can no longer express clearly what they want. Family members have to act as surrogate decision makers, but if they don't understand the dementia patients' preferences about care, they may not be able to make the best choices."

Zarit plans to continue this research by developing and evaluating protocols for improving communication between caregivers and their relatives to ensure that medical and social decisions are made in such a way that reflect dementia patients' actual values.

This work was supported by the Administration on Aging, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the AARP Andrus Foundation, the Retirement Research Foundation, the National Institute of Aging and the National Institute of Mental Health. Other authors on the paper include Allison Reamy and Kyungmin Kim, both graduate students in human development and family studies at Penn State, and Carol Whitlatch of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. M. Reamy, K. Kim, S. H. Zarit, C. J. Whitlatch. Understanding Discrepancy in Perceptions of Values: Individuals With Mild to Moderate Dementia and Their Family Caregivers. The Gerontologist, 2011; 51 (4): 473 DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnr010

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Caregivers and their relatives disagree about care given, received." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801111743.htm>.
Penn State. (2011, August 1). Caregivers and their relatives disagree about care given, received. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801111743.htm
Penn State. "Caregivers and their relatives disagree about care given, received." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801111743.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Newsy (Dec. 12, 2014) A study out of Britain suggest men are more idiotic than women based on the rate of accidental deaths and other factors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

AFP (Dec. 12, 2014) As the countdown to Christmas gets underway, so too does the Father Christmas conspiracy. But psychologists say that telling our children about Santa, flying reindeer and elves is good for their imaginations. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins