The major aim of this study was to compare elderly co-resident caregivers of stroke and dementia sufferers to determine whether caring for those with predominantly mental disability (dementia) is more stressful to caregivers than caring for those with predominantly physical disability (stroke). As the focus of this study was upon the elderly, only caregivers over the age of 60 years were included. The hypothesis was that both groups of caregivers would experience similar degrees of burden and high levels of psychological morbidity.
Recommendations as outcomes of this research mentioned as; Caregiver burden should be evaluated routinely during geriatric assessment, since it has been found by Brown et al to be an important independent predictor of community service utilization over the following year. Authors advocate that attention be focused upon caregivers early in the caregiving role, because early intervention may be more effective in preventing subsequent psychological morbidity. This should occur irrespective of the diagnosis. Researchers have suggested that multidisciplinary geriatric teams should include a “caregiver support therapist,” whose role would be to identify vulnerable caregivers during hospital and community assessments and to co-ordinate appropriate stress management and caregiver training programs. This recognizes that caregivers, as well as patients, may need support in their own right. Governments and other funding authorities responsible for the cost-effective management of persons with chronic disability should respond to these needs of caregivers. National social policy planners may well find themselves under increasing pressure to develop appropriate proposals, including the need of respite for caregiver.