The purpose of this study was to examine if psychosocial intervention for family caregivers made any differences in describing symptoms of dementia in the persons they cared for. The study population comprised family caregivers of persons aged 70 years and older receiving social services and diagnosed with dementia disorders. A group of 129 family caregivers underwent psychosocial intervention including education, information, and provision of a support group, while 133 family caregivers did not and these formed the control group. Family caregivers were followed-up every 6 months for a total of 18 months. They rated intellectual, emotional, and activity of daily living (ADL) functions in persons with dementia using the Gottfries-Bråne-Steen scale (GBS-scale). Family caregivers who underwent psychosocial intervention rated the intellectual and emotional symptoms of dementia significantly higher 6 months later compared to controls and the effect was sustained during the 18-month follow-up irrespective of relationship and education. Most notably, decrease in function of recent memory, ability to increase tempo, long-windedness, distractibility, and blunting were better identified. Our findings suggest that the family caregivers who underwent psychosocial intervention achieved better understanding of different symptoms and the behaviors of dementia. These findings may explain earlier findings of positive effects after psychosocial intervention on family caregivers' sense of burden, satisfaction, and ability to delay nursing home placement.
- Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences