Caring for People With Dementia and With Cognitive Impairment No Dementia: A Comparison of Baby Boomer Caregivers and Older Caregivers
While the characteristics of baby boomers (BB)—born between 1946 and 1964—compared to the previous generation have been well documented (e.g., higher participation of women in the work force), less is known about the experiences of BB caregivers (CGs) of loved ones with dementia or Cognitive Impairment no dementia (CIND). Stress Process Model (SPM) was adapted to understanding the differences between BB and older CGs. The purpose of this study was to compare caregiving-related stressors, well-being, physical health, and depressive symptomatology between BB CGs and older CGs of people with dementia or CIND. The following exploratory question (E1) was asked: Are there significant differences between BB CGs and older CGs in primary stressors, secondary stressors, mediators/moderators, and demographics? Furthermore, the research tests three hypotheses: Compared with older CGs, (H1) BB CGs experience higher levels of work conflict due to caregiving; (H2) BB CGs experience higher levels of family conflict due to caregiving; and (H3) Different factors are associated with BB CGs’ and older CGs’ well-being, physical health, and depressive symptomatology.
This study used the first wave from the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS) with 421 primary CG for those with CIND or dementia For primary stressors, patient’s disease status, activities of daily living were included. For secondary stressors, CG’s strain of caregiving on work, family relationships, and leisure activities was assessed by two items each. As for mediators/moderator, using paid help, Medicare coverage for paid help, and received instruction in dementia caregiving were included. CGs’ well-being, physical health and depressive symptomatology were included as outcomes. Background characteristics included CGs’ race, employment status, and education level. Two-tailed independent tests and chi-square tests were conducted to explore in the differences in each domain of SPM, caregiving-work conflict, and caregiving-family conflict between BB and older CGs (E1, H1, and H2). Six ordinary least-squares multiple regression analyses were used to investigate predictors of CG’s well-being, physical health, and depressive symptomatology (H3).
Mean age of BB CGs and older CGs was 48 and 69 years, respectively. The majority of CGs were White. Independent t-tests (E1) revealed that BB CGs reported higher level education, t(420) = 2.17, p < .05, and better physical health, t(421) = 2.629, p < .05, than older CGs. However, BB CGs reported lower levels of well-being than older CGs t(421) = -3.70, p < .000. As hypothesized (H1), BB CGs reported significantly higher caregiving–work conflict than older CGs, t(421) = 3.59, p < .000. However, contrary to H2, BB CGs did not experience a significant difference in family conflict due to caregiving. As hypothesized (H3), different factors predict BB CGs’ and older CGs’ well-being, and physical health except two predictors of physical health: education and family conflict.
The current results yield important information about considerable differences between BB CGs and older CGs of people with dementia or CIND within the caregiving experiences. The findings highlight the need to provide tailored interventions to cope with caregiving stress in order to meet CGs’ individual needs.