Dementia caregivers suffer a considerable care burden. More than in comparable groups of caregivers or peers, they are confronted with feelings of depression and decreased physical health. Although many studies are set up to determine the link between the stressors in dementia care-giving and the impact on the family caregiver, the results remained inconclusive. Others, depression in caregivers remains the main cause of a premature or acute ending of home care.
The aim of this systematic literature review was to analyse what factors determine the development of depression in caregivers of elderly patients with dementia. Depression was taken as primary outcome as it is shown to be the main reason for caregivers to abandon home care.
Depression occurs in one in three of caregivers and it occurs more frequently in those who care for patients with dementia than in caregivers of patients with other chronic illnesses.
Caregiver characteristics rather than objective care needs of the patients tend to be responsible for the onset of depression. Future research should concentrate on demonstrating links between negative feelings in caregivers and the way the care situation evolves. This can have important implications in home care support.