Helping caregivers of people with dementia: a need to renew theoretical frameworks in France

Geriatr Psychol Neuropsychiatr Vieil. 2018 Dec 1;16(4):399-408. doi: 10.1684/pnv.2018.0763.


Research and care have improved a lot for persons with dementia (PWD) in France. However, most studies are essentially descriptive, and very few researches have focused on theoretical framework that may help understand and help their caregivers (CG). Yet, some approaches exist, and have proven to be efficient in other countries. The main interest of such approaches is the possibility to match health professionals' conception of CG and their situation, and thus allowing to better describe their situation, their difficulties and their expectations, and thus offer a caring the closest possible from their needs. Four main approaches will be discussed : 1) stress coping, the most used model in CG's care that allows to assess the principal stressors in CG's role, and to figure out the best ways to cope with these; 2) person centered care, which claims that making the CG more competent in their role decreases their burden; 3) role transition theory for which the difficulties come from the fact that CG's role is mostly unexpected, and their way of embracing it modifies their perception of themselves and their relative with dementia; 4) senses framework characterizes CG and PWD through their relationship, and offers a vision that includes difficulties and ways to cope with them, as well as satisfactions they experiment in the caregiving relationship. We will see through these theoretical frameworks which elements are the most relevant to take into account, their similarities and differences as well as the possible applications for health practitioners.

Keywords: Alzheimer disease; burden; family caregivers; psychology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology