Background: Despite the recent dissemination of group homes in Japan for older adults with dementia, the behavioral and psychological features of the residents remain unknown. To clarify the association of such features with the levels of difficulty encountered by caregivers in coping with these symptoms, we have conducted a survey to compare the frequencies of the symptoms among group homes, nursing homes and a long-term care hospital.
Methods: Five hundred and eighty-six older adults aged 65 years or more were sampled. Data were consecutively collected from questionnaires given to the caregivers. The questionnaire included basic activities of daily living, the Mini-mental State Examination, frequencies of behavioral, psychological and physical symptoms, and the levels of difficulty in coping with the symptoms.
Results: In group homes, requests to go home, urinary incontinence and frequent complaining were the most commonly observed symptoms. The symptoms associated with disorientation, anxiety and depression were frequently observed in all three care settings. Most of the symptoms were more frequently observed in group homes than in the other two care settings. However, the levels of difficulty in coping with most of the symptoms were the highest in the long-term care hospital, followed in order by the group homes and nursing homes. In group homes, inappropriate sexual behavior was the symptom creating the most stress for the caregivers, followed by verbal and nonverbal abuse and changeable mood.
Conclusions: The symptomatic traits of residents in group homes were clarified in the present study. These findings could be helpful in considering desirable placement or the improvement of eligible service provision for older adults with dementia in care facilities.