Caring for individuals with dementia: the Nigerian experience

West Afr J Med. 2005 Jul-Sep;24(3):259-62. doi: 10.4314/wajm.v24i3.28211.


Recent epidemiological data, mainly from cross-cultural studies, have revealed that the burden of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD) the most common type, is significantly lower in developing than in the industrialized countries. Caring for individuals with dementia is a major consideration because most developing countries do not have the resources to provide comprehensive care in institutions. Home care that is practiced is ideal given the cultural scenario especially with the extended family support. Public policies on the care of the elderly however need to be well articulated and implemented. Hypertension was the most frequent medical co-morbidity of the demented subjects and about a third of subjects with AD were hypertensive, which may support vascular hypothesis in AD pathogenesis. The important behavioural disturbances experienced by caregivers and the associated stress levels were highlighted. The model used on the Indianapolis-Ibadan Dementia Study which involves periodic home visits, and empowerment of caregivers through regular meetings is envisaged to make caring for these individuals easier and adaptable in other African communities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / ethnology
  • Caregivers*
  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Dementia / ethnology
  • Developed Countries
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Home Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Population Dynamics
  • United States / epidemiology