Dement Neurocogn Disord.  2012 Mar;11(1):13-17. 10.12779/dnd.2012.11.1.13.

Who Takes Care of Patients with Dementia in Korea: A Study on the Present State of Patients with Dementia Living Alone and Primary Caregivers

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurology, Konyang University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 2Department of Neurology, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. neuroman@catholic.ac.kr

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Cultural characteristics of taking care of patients with dementia in Korea are based on the influence of Confucianism on the lifestyle of Koreans. In addition, as the family size has been getting smaller, the number of old persons who live alone has been increasing. The purpose of this study is to examine the proportion of the elderly with dementia who live alone and demographics of caregivers when such patients live with their family.
METHODS
From the multiple hospital-based cohort, 973 elderly patients with very mild dementia (Clinical Dementia Rating [CDR]=0.5), 1,056 patients with mild dementia (CDR=1) and 359 patients with moderate dementia (CDR=2) were recruited. We analyzed the proportion of the patients with dementia who live alone and the demographics of the caregivers if such patients live with and are taken care of by such caregivers depending upon the severity of dementia.
RESULTS
The proportion of the patients with dementia who live alone accounts for about 40% of all elderly patients with dementia. Major age groups of caregivers are of 40s and 50s. Sons, daughters, and spouses were ranked in the said order in the proportion of caregivers according to their relationship to patients.
CONCLUSIONS
Up to now, family members care for about 60% of elderly patients with dementia, which may suggest that from the objective viewpoint, direct burden borne by caregivers for old patients with dementia would be considerably high. On the other hand, about 40% of dementia patients live alone, implying that the social care system is needed for them.

Keyword

Caregiver; Dementia; Demographics

MeSH Terms

Aged
Caregivers
Cohort Studies
Confucianism
Cultural Characteristics
Dementia
Demography
Family Characteristics
Hand
Humans
Korea
Life Style
Nuclear Family
Spouses
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