Results of research study of family caregivers of older adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCC).


I recently took part in the above named research study. I thought that I would share some of the results-just as a matter of interest. Many of the results will come as no surprise.

Caregiver's health matters as it impacts their quality of live & ability to provide care.

As a result of their caregiving role, caregivers experienced impacts on their work, family & health.

With respect to social location, age and gender, both had a significant effect on outcomes, where women over 65 years of age were found to be more vulnerable; this suggests that these caregivers need more support;

Self-efficacy, or confidence in one's ability to deal with difficult situations was found to be an important predictor of caregivers' QoL
Judicial & mental health;

Caregivers responses suggest that, in their caregiving journey, there were three phases: the initial phase was marked by caregivers feeling overwhelmed; the middle phase reflected adjustment & routine, and; the late phase revealed acceptance & confidence in the caregiving role.
For caregiver-employees those working full time experienced more work interferences than those working part-time, casual, reduced hours etc.

The better the caregiver-employee's physical health, the fewer work interferences experienced.

Key message: the significant positive relationship between self-efface & QoL/health stresses the importance of supporting family caregivers to increase confidence in their ability to deal with difficult situations. This is specially true for women over 65 years & older. With respect to caregiver-employees, flexible caregiver-friendly workplace policies are needed to better manage work interferences, especially those employed full time.

This research was conducted using 194 caregivers of older adults with MCC from Alberta and Ontario, CANADA who responded to up to three x one hour telephone interviews, collected at two time points, six months apart, March and September, 2014.

The results of the study will be used to design ways to support family caregivers of persons with MCC, particular for caregiver-employees & women aged 65 years and older.

Lead researchers were from the University of Alberta, Canada and Mc Master University, Canada.

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cwillie, I know what you mean. I thought about the things that caregivers need, but each was countered by a "yabbut" (yeah, but...). For example, caregivers need help to come into the home. Yabbut the elders don't want anyone else in the house. The caregivers need respite. Yabbut the elder thinks they are perfectly alright staying home alone, so refuse any respite help. There are many good helps for caregivers already. If someone could figure out what to do about those yabbuts, it would be a lot easier. It was actually a yabbut that brought me here in the first place. I offered to move my parents into a senior community apartment near mine. Yabbut they didn't want to leave their house.

I DO understand the need for studies and academically verified results in order to give experts the base information to move forward. And I am also aware that in the academic world you get brownie points for doing studies and publishing articles whether the information is innovative or is just used to add to a list of studies which are in agreement and therefore add weight to the results. It just irks me that so much time and so many resources seem to be invested in endless academic studies, political round tables, white papers, royal commissions and what have you and nothing ever seems to actually move forward or change. What we need is political vision and the backbone to follow through with that vision, something politicians seem to lose all too quickly once we vote them into office.

Thanks for sharing, Cathberry. Even though the conclusions are common-sense and the population studied was small, it is a good start at actually listening to caregivers and getting some statistics. WE know those things are true, but there has to be more than anecdotal evidence if public policies and to be influenced.

I certainly don't think that this little study proves that women over 65 have the most difficult time with caregiving someone with multiple chronic conditions, I do believe it is true. If studies like this help policy-makers and social agencies to take into consideration, wonderful! I was fifty-eight when my husband developed dementia. I remember thinking many times how lucky he was to have married a much younger woman! Now, at 70, I can not imagine starting the caregiver journey alone. I would need a lot more support than I did then, for sure!!

The more such studies, the better ... if they are used to educate and influence policy-makers.

Veronica, grant funds could come from a variety of sources: the Alzheimer's Foundation ( or its Canadian equivalent ), a health department of the Canadian government, private donors, universities, or even some for profit corporations that might have an interest in the topic of research.

I did google Dr Wendy and urge anyone interested to do the same. She is expert at obtaining grants for her research and spends so much time writing for different publications she must have little time to sleep. Of course Ihave not read any of her publications so can't comment on the content. However as the wife of someone who in his earlier years wrote many research articles for learned publications I know the amount of research that has to go into each and the time involved. I am feeling like a real sour puss tonight. That comment is allowed in the UK and I can't think of an equivalent socially acceptable US comment so sorry if anyone is offended.

Good grief that's the trouble with academics. I am in no position to criticze people with advanced degrees which of course I don't have. But my first question would be where did the grant money to complete the study come from. I am sure Dr Wendy's heart is in the right place and holds a prestigios position at a university. I will have to google her to find out her background.
I agree with Book interactive helmets are a great idea. I was thinking of writing a list for people considering taking on the care of their loved one. Helmet, duct tape, separate bathroom, fake duplicate car key. i would also add a collar for her dog with loved one's name and address. I once returned a neighbor to her family with the aid of the dog's collar.
She knocked on my door and said her family had driven off home to a nearby town and left her behind. While she used the bathroom I read the dogs collar so popped her in the car and took her home. She told me the name of the nearby town which turned out to be her own last name.

Bookluvr, that's very clever! I think you should develop that helmet and patent it!

Maybe it's just me, but what you posted went right over my head. I like "bottom line is...." comments summarizing the results. By reading the comments, I have a general idea of it.

You know, JessieBelle, that they've found that helmets don't really protect the brain from constant or harsh impacts. The brain still shakes inside the skull. BUT, some protection is better than none.

If we're getting helmets, let's get the ones that can tell us if the impact caused concussion and therefore we must sit on the sidelines. If we can hook that up to a government agency, every time the helmet records our stress level to be too high, it would send a message to the government to send a respite caregiver to relieve us temporarily.

I should add that Cathberry makes good points. The channels and roads to effecting change often follow old and well trodden routes. Take a shortcut or create a new path and you might not end up where you want to.

There apparently are a number of studies in this Living with Hope series:
Dr. Wendy seems to be quite interested and a firm supporter of aging research. It's great to see someone who can be such a good resource.

Although I'm also glad to see these kinds of studies being done, I think that any study has to be viewed with a certain amount of scrutiny.

Anyone who's taken statistics knows that phraseology of the question can direct responses to an intended result.

The study group participants make a big difference. If the study group contains people whose caregiving has been done all at home, the results would I think be different from those whose families are in facilities. That's not to diminish the seriousness or either group, but the experiences are different.

Outside factors if not held constant can skew the results as well.

A study group also needs to be large enough to be statistically significant.

On the other hand, a smaller group can be hand picked with some confidence to yield certain results, which provide leverage to move to another level of pursing the issue in a different manner, such as development of assistance aids, identification of funding resources, etc. And sometimes these are necessary steps and don't need to be large studies.

This doesn't diminish the value of anyone's contribution; it's just a fact about how studies can be structured.

E.g., if you wanted to conduct a study that challenged Donald Trump's qualifications for president, you could call Fox News supporters, especially those who like Megyn Kelly, those who've been on that hiring or firing program (I don't remember what it's called), or Democrats.

If you wanted one that supported him, you could call his hairdressers. Even if he only has 5, the study results are reported that 100% of those surveyed supported him for president. The people who conducted the survey just don't let it be known that they only asked 5 people.

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