The hidden patient: chronic physical morbidity, psychological distress, and quality of life in caregivers of older adults

Rajeswari Sambasivam, Jianlin Liu, Janhavi A. Vaingankar, Hui L. Ong, Min En Tan, Restria Fauziana, Louisa Picco, Siow Ann Chong, Mythily Subramaniam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: Increasing demands for care provision to older adults require good physical and mental health among caregivers. Few studies have examined the health status and correlates of quality of life among caregivers of older adults. The present study therefore sought to examine the prevalence of chronic physical conditions, psychological distress, and correlates of physical and mental quality of life among caregivers of older adults (≥60 years) in Singapore. Methods: Participants were 285 informal caregivers who were providing care to an older relative. Participants were recruited at the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore, and they completed self-report measures on chronic physical morbidity, psychological distress, and physical and mental quality of life. Multiple regression models were constructed to examine correlates of physical and mental quality of life. Results: More than half of the caregivers had at least one chronic physical condition (58.6%) and psychological distress (52.6%). Chronic physical morbidity, psychological distress, and secondary education status were associated with lower physical quality of life. Psychological distress, younger age, primary education status, and more time spent caregiving were associated with lower mental quality of life. Conclusion: Poor physical and mental health among caregivers may impair their ability to provide adequate care to older adults with progressive medical needs. It is important for medical practitioners not to neglect the physical and mental health of caregivers through continued assessment of chronic physical morbidity, psychological distress, and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalPsychogeriatrics
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • caregivers
  • chronic disease
  • mental health
  • quality of life

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