CAREGIVING IN PARKINSON'S DISEASE: A COMPARISON OF SPOUSE AND ADULT-CHILD CARERS IN RELATION TO FAMILY TYPE AND DURATION OF CARE
 
Bhatia, S, University of Delhi, India
 
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder resulting in near total immobility. Along with the cardinal symptoms of tremor, rigidity, and postural and equilibrium disturbances, individuals with PD often develop depression and dementia. These patients are no longer able to function without some degree of assistance to continue living in the community. Caregiving refers to the physical work or financial assistance involved and also includes the accompanying comfort that family members provide. With the diagnosis of PD, comes the role of family caregiving. The work of caregiving is demanding and ever-changing, increasing as the disease progresses and disability becomes more pronounced, since this involves a continuous balancing of time, space, energy, money, jobs, activities and identities. Stress is well-documented among caregivers of persons with PD. It generally has been found that caregivers experience more stress and emotional difficulties, such as depression and anticipatory grief than the general population. Factors related to the disease and its progression are often viewed as predictors of caregiver adjustment. Caregiving in a chronic illness like PD has not been studied in the Indian context. The present study makes an attempt to examine in what way the severity of PD affects caregiver outcomes as assessed by extent of depressive symptoms. Since caregiving is an artifact of two inter-related variables: Societal resources and cultural norms, the variables of family type and duration of care were included to study their relationship to caregiver depression. The findings revealed that relationship to patient, family structure and duration of care were significantly related to caregiver burden and depression, such that caregivers who were adult children, from extended families and had been caring for long were experiencing more burden and depression. The results will be discussed in the light of above findings.