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This exploratory study investigated the associations of individual characteristics of both persons with dementia and family caregivers with the nutritional status of caregivers.
This cross-sectional study was conducted at home by psychogerontologist within the frame of a community gerontological center in rural areas of south west France. The study participants comprised 56 community-dwelling persons with dementia (mean 80.7 years, SD 6.5) and 56 family caregivers (mean 70.9 years, SD 11.0). Persons with dementia were assessed with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Basic Activities Of Daily Living (ADL), Instrumental ADL (IADL), and NeuroPsychiatric Inventory (NPI), and family caregivers with the Burden Interview (Zarit scale), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI Y-B), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), the emotional impact measure of NPI and the Autonomy, Gerontology and Group Resources scale (AGGIR scale). For both, nutritional status was evaluated using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA®).
Among family caregivers, 32.1% were at risk of malnutrition and 5.4% were malnourished, and among people with dementia, 58.9% and 23.2%, respectively. NPI severity score of apathy of persons with dementia (Beta = −0.342, p = 0.001), dependency on AGGIR scale (Beta = −0.336, p = 0.002), and CES-D score of caregivers (Beta = −0.365, p = 0.001) were associated with caregivers’ MNA score (Adjusted R2 = 0.480, p < 0.001).
These preliminary findings emphasize the need for routine assessment of depressive symptoms, functional and nutritional status in dementia family caregivers, and confirm the value of investigating caregivers’ nutritional risk through an integrative view including psychosocial approach.
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