ERIC Number: ED232090
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: 0
A Longitudinal Study of Family Supports to Impaired Elderly.
Johnson, Colleen Leahy; Catalano, Donald J.
While research has documented the strengths of the family as a support system to the elderly, there is less understanding of what happens when supports are needed over an extended time. To study family care when support needs persist for a long period, 115 older adults were studied after discharge from the hospital and again about 8 months later. Both structured and unstructured data were collected. Analysis focused on supports defined as family contact and aid, and on the more subjective factors influencing the quality of the supports. The overall results showed that few of the elderly were abandoned by their families, although most were cared for by a primary caregiver rather than the family as a unit. Although a high level of strain was reported, particularly by children who were caregivers, most needs of the elderly were met, and only 17% of the sample were institutionalized. For the group as a whole, the mean functional level had stabilized after 8 months. As a result, family supports declined, even though more patients reported problems with morale and loneliness. A comparison of patients who had achieved independent functioning with those who remained dependent showed that caregivers of dependent patients experienced more strain; more of these families used formal supports. (JAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., San Francisco.
Note: Revision of paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (35th, Boston, MA, November 19-23, 1982).