Health-Related Quality of Life in Persons with Memory Loss and their Caregivers

Samantha N. Kuntz, Sarah A. Ackerman, Melissa L. Knox

Abstract


Background/Purpose: The burden of memory loss can affect health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for those with memory loss as well as for their informal caregivers. This study describes physical and mental HRQoL for both caregivers and their care recipients’ and examines associations among physical and mental HRQoL and patient cognitive impairment. Methods: This descriptive study included 53 caregiver and patient dyads from an ongoing randomized control trial targeting caregivers of community-dwelling individuals with memory loss. All observations were assessed using standard measures. Caregivers were 75% female, 84% Caucasian, and on average 67 years old (SD=13). The average length of caregiving was four years (SD=3.7) and over half (56%) of the caregivers were spouses. SF-36 HRQoL scores can range from 0 (low HRQoL) to 100 (high HRQoL). Analysis included descriptive statistics and correlations. Results: Caregivers’ physical HRQoL ranged from 8.6 to 68.2 (M=43.8, SD=12.7), and mental HRQoL from 13.2 to 69.1 (M=46.1, SD=14.4). Patients’ physical HRQoL ranged from 20.2 to 59.2 (M=36.1, SD=11.2), and mental HRQoL from 13.7 to 66.7 (M=44.1, SD=14.6). Patients had an average MMSE score of 17.67 (SD=8.6), ranging from 0 to 30. Findings demonstrated a positive association between patient and caregiver mental HRQoL (r=.541, p=.000). Measures of mental and physical HRQoL were positively associated in patients (r=.281, p=.041), but not in caregivers (r=-.140, p=.338). Conclusions: Patient mental HRQoL may affect HRQoL for both patients and their caregivers. Poor patient mental well-being may take a toll on caregiver mental well-being. Health care providers need to be cognizant that caring for patients with cognitive impairment living in the community may have a negative effect on HRQoL.


Keywords


Caregiving, Quality of Life, Memory Loss

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