Caregiver of the elderly

The caregivers of elderly people with disabilities, have high levels of anxiety, depression, family dysfunction and caregiver syndrome with greater predisposition to morbidity.

In 2006, Colombia Médica conducted a study to describe the prevalence of the caregiver syndrome and the psychosocial characteristics of the caregivers of elderly people with disabilities.

The conclusion of the analysis identified caregivers as a vulnerable group with needs preventive and therapeutic . It was observed that the caregivers had previous conditions, especially cardiovascular and osteomuscular diseases, as well as high levels of depression and anxiety, which alter the capacity of the immune response and increase the probability of suffering from various diseases.

The pilot study was conducted in the Valle del Cauca during 2003-2004. We studied 102 families, mostly of low socioeconomic status (75.3%) with an average disability of 4 years.

Source: DUENAS, Eliana, MARTINEZ, María Anggeline, MORALES, Benjamín et al. Caregiver syndrome of disabled older adults and their psychosocial implications. Colomb. Med., Jun. 2006, vol.37, no.2, suppl.1, p.31-38. ISSN 1657-9534.

Derived advice

It is important to guide the family of elderly people with disabilities in the assignment of tasks and to emphasize the access of recreational activities that serve to dispel the possible burdens that originate in the work of the caregiver. Equally important is the intervention of the health team in the early detection and early management of those who care whose overload is sufficient to limit their personal development.

This kind of orientation will allow the integral management of chronic ill people and would constitute a preventive and health promotion approach fundamental for the family encounter.

The important crisis and the emotional symptoms that are triggered by the presence of a relative with a disability in the home must be taken into account; therefore, the health team must provide a biopsychosocial approach for the patient and his family, with the purpose of allowing the reorganization of the functions in the family members, if it is indispensable.

Source: DUENAS, Eliana, MARTINEZ, María Anggeline, MORALES, Benjamín et al. Caregiver syndrome of disabled older adults and their psychosocial implications. Colomb. Med., Jun. 2006, vol.37, no.2, suppl.1, p.31-38. ISSN 1657-9534.


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