Background: Out-of-home mobility refers to the realization of trips outside the home, by foot or by other means of transportation. Although out-of-home mobility is important for the well-being of older people with cognitive impairment, its importance for their caregivers is not clear. This study aims to clarify the relationship between caregiving burden and out-of-home mobility of care-recipients using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology.
Methods: Seventy-six dyads (care-recipients and caregivers) were recruited from a psychogeriatric center, where they underwent cognitive assessment, followed by psychosocial interviews at home. Care-recipients received GPS tracking kits to carry for a period of four weeks, whenever they left home. Mobility data and diagnostic and psychosocial data were examined in relation to caregiver burden.
Results: The strongest predictors of burden were care-recipients’ lower cognitive status and more time spent walking out-of-home. An interaction was found between cognitive status and time spent walking in relation to caregiver burden. The relationship between walking and burden was stronger among caregivers of care-recipients with dementia than caregivers of care-recipients with no cognitive impairment or mild cognitive impairment. Care-recipients’ behavioral and emotional states were also positively related to caregiver burden.
Conclusions: The findings stress the importance of maintaining older persons’ out-of-home mobility during cognitive decline.