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Patterns of Caring for People with Dementia in Canada The Canadian Study of Health and Aging*

  • Joan Lindsay
Abstract

This paper describes patterns of caring for people aged 65 or over with dementia in Canada, and the relationship this has with the well-being of caregivers. Data were drawn from a representative sample of elderly people, selected from the community and from institutions in the ten provinces of Canada as part of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA). Interviews were held with the caregivers of people diagnosed with dementia, and with a comparison group of caregivers for non-demented persons. About half of all people with dementia in Canada are living in the community, and our results show that over 98 per cent of them have a caregiver. The caregivers in 94 per cent of these cases are unpaid family members, relatives or friends: the spouse in 37 per cent of cases and a daughter in 29 per cent. Caregivers rarely use community support services. Among those caring for someone in the community, those caring for a person with dementia are more likely to experience chronic health problems and depressive symptoms than are those caring for a non-demented elderly person. Those caring for a person in the community are much more likely to feel burdened than those whose loved one is in an institution, even though those who are institutionalized are more likely to suffer from severe dementia. These national figures support many of the findings reported from smaller, localized studies. The findings suggest that long-term care institutions are serving a role for Canada's seniors, particularly for the most demented, and that caregivers often provide care for loved ones even when suffering from chronic health conditions, depression, and burden themselves.

Cette étude porte sur les tendances, au Canada, en matière de soins auprès de personnes âgées de 65 ans ou plus atteintes de démence, ainsi que leurs effets sur le bien-être des dispensateurs de soins. Les données ont été tirées d'un échantillon représentatif de personnes âgées vivant au sein de la communauté et en établissement de santé dans les dix provinces canadiennes dans le cadre de l'Étude sur la santé et le vieillissement au Canada (ESVC). Des entrevues ont été menées auprès de personnes donnant des soins à des personnes âgées atteintes de démence et d'un groupe de personnes prodiguant des soins à des personnes âgées non atteintes à des fins de comparaison. Près de la moitié des personnes atteintes de démence au Canada vivent au sein de la communauté et, selon nos résultats, plus de 98 pour cent d'entre elles bénéficient de soins. Dans 94 pour cent de ces cas, le dispensateur de soins est un membre de la famille non rémunéré, un membre de la parenté ou un ami; le conjoint et la fille représentent respectivement 37 et 29 pour cent de ceux-ci. Les dispensateurs de soins font rarement appel aux services de soutien communautaire. Parmi ce groupe, les personnes prenant soins d'un aîné atteint de démence sont le plus susceptibles d'éprouver des problèmes de santé chroniques et de présenter des signes de dépression, par opposition aux personnes prenant soins d'aînés non atteints. De plus, les dispensateurs de soins au sein de la communauté risquent davantage de sentir qu'elles portent un lourd fardeau que les personnes dont un membre de la famille se trouve en établissement et ce, même si les personnes en établissement sont atteintes de démence grave. Ces données nationales soutiennent bon nombre des résultats obtenus dans le cadre d'études menées à plus petite échelle dans les localités. Les résultats suggèrent que les établissements de soins de longue durée jouent un rôle important au Canada pour les personnes âgées, particulièrement celles atteintes de démence, et que les dispensateurs de soins prodiguent des soins à leurs proches même s'ils éprouvent des problèmes de santé chroniques, de dépression, ou doivent porter un fardeau plus lourd.

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Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-on-aging-la-revue-canadienne-du-vieillissement
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