Reactions to caregiving in frailty research

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Aggar, C, Ronaldson, S & Cameron, I 2011, 'Reactions to caregiving in frailty research', Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 138 -143.

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Frailty is a syndrome characterized by decreased functional ability and associated with institutionalization. Many community-living frail older people rely upon the support of a family member or friend. However, there is a paucity of research exploring the reactions to caring for older people empirically identified as frail. The objective of this study was to describe carers of community-living older people identified as frail, using accepted criteria, identify care characteristics and ascertain relationships that contribute to reactions to caregiving. A cross-section of carers of community-living frail people (≥70 years) completed a postal questionnaire; the Caregiver Reaction Assessment (CRA) evaluated reactions to caregiving. Ninety-three carers completed the questionnaire (68% response rate). Correlation and multivariate analysis of variance tests (MANOVA) demonstrated statistically significant relationships between several care characteristics and reactions to caregiving. Carers who provide more than 20 h of care per week and report a low self-perceived health status are susceptible to significant health and financial problems and disruption to their daily schedule. Two strategies for improving reactions to caring for persons with frailty are proposed: financial support that assists carers to improve their health status and the provision of regular formal assistance, rather than intermittent respite care.

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