Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the associations of individual characteristics of both older people with dementia and family caregivers with the nutritional status of older people with dementia.
Methods: This cross-sectional study comprising 56 community-dwelling older persons with dementia and 56 family caregivers was conducted at home by a psychogerontologist working for a community gerontological center. Older people with dementia were assessed with Mini mental state examination, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, Activities of Daily Living (ADL), and NeuroPsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and family caregivers with the Burden Interview (Zarit scale), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and the emotional impact measure of NPI. For both, nutritional status was evaluated using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA).
Results: Among older people with dementia, 58.9% were at risk of malnutrition and 23.2% presented a poor nutritional status, and among the family caregivers, 32.1% and 5.4%, respectively. The MNA score of older people with dementia was strongly and inversely associated with the ADL score and was strongly and positively associated with the MNA score of family caregiver. These two factors significantly explained 32% of variation of MNA score of older people with dementia.
Conclusions: These findings confirm the value of investigating nutritional deficiencies in dementia within the caregiving dyad and suggest that the functional status of older people with dementia and the nutritional status of family caregivers should be carefully assessed.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.