The purpose of this experimental study was to test the efficacy of a psychoeducational individual program conceived to facilitate transition to the caregiver role following diagnosis of Alzheimer disease in a relative.
Caregivers were recruited in memory clinics and randomized to an experimental group (n = 62) or a control group (n = 49) receiving usual care. Eligible participants-primary caregivers of a relative diagnosed with Alzheimer in the past 9 months-were assessed blindly before randomization, at the end of the program (post-test), and 3 months later (follow-up) on different outcomes associated with healthy role transition.
The analyses indicated that at post-test and follow-up, caregivers in the experimental group were more confident in dealing with caregiving situations, perceived themselves to be better prepared to provide care and more efficacious in their caregiver role, were better able to plan for the future care needs of their relative, had better knowledge of available services, and made more frequent use of the coping strategies of problem solving and reframing. The program had no significant effect on use of stress-management strategies, perceived informal support and family conflicts.
This program underscores that a proactive intervention approach from the onset of the care trajectory is key to fostering caregiver adaptation to the new challenges they must meet.