Evaluation of the Social Support to Dementia Family Caregivers in Hong Kong

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Abstract Summary
Abstract ID :
Submission Type
Authors (including presenting author) :
Lam KY
Affiliation :
Norwich Medical School of University of East Anglia / St. Mary's Canossian College
Introduction :
In line with global trends, the number of persons in Hong Kong suffering from dementia rises significantly with the ageing demographics. It is projected that in 2036, about 1 in every 10 over-70s has dementia and by the age of 85 about 1 in 3 will have it. It has long been recognised that the impact of dementia goes far beyond the patients, but also their family caregivers. As our population continues to age, family caregivers are faced with increasing demands. Numerous studies have highlighted its deleterious psychological, physiological and financial effects on family caregivers. It is therefore important to understand their experiences and needs, which could help service providers design effective interventions to alleviate their burden and improve quality of life.
Objectives :
(1) to explore the burdens faced by dementia family caregivers (2) to evaluate on existing social support in terms of adequacy, accessibility and usefulness (3) to suggest appropriate interventional strategies for further service enhancement
Methodology :
Two in-person interviews were conducted with a dementia family caregiver and a social worker providing elderly service respectively, which offered detailed information about dementia family caregivers’ real-life obstacles and their opinions on the existing social support. Facts and statistics were also collected from researches and articles from medical journals.
Result & Outcome :
Caregiving in dementia in Hong Kong is as demanding and challenging as reported in other developed communities, with psychological stress being the most typical burden in comparison to other burdens like physiological problems, interrupted daily routine and insufficient information. Existing social support can be categorised into day care service, residential care service and caregiver skills training. After the evaluation, I would comment it as insufficient support, which should be extended in accessibility and adequacy. Only by achieving the above criteria, the usefulness of the support can be truly utilised. For future service enhancement, dementia outreach services, appointment of a “resource person” for each dementia caregiver, and expanded online promotion could be possible steps to build a closer support network, leading the society to achieve ‘healthy ageing’ in foreseeable future.

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