Exploring factors contributing to caregiver burden in family caregivers of congolese adults with suspected dementia

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2023 Sep;38(9):e6004. doi: 10.1002/gps.6004.


Introduction: Predicting caregiver burden in individuals with suspected dementia - is critical due to the debilitating nature of these disorders and need for caregiver support. While some examination of the factors affecting burden has been undertaken in Sub-Saharan Africa, each country presents with its own unique challenges and obstacles. This pilot study investigates predictors of caregiver burden in family caregivers of individuals with suspected dementia living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Methods: Linear and multiple regression analyses were conducted to explore factors associated with caregiver burden in 30 patient-caregiver dyads with the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) for caregiver burden evaluation. Cognitive impairments of patients were assessed using the Community Screening Instrument for Dementia, Alzheimer's Questionnaire (AQ), the African Neuropsychology Battery, and the Neuropsychiatric Symptoms Inventory (NPI).

Results: Average caregiver burden on the ZBI was 36.1 (SD = 14.6; range = 12-58). Greater impairments in patient cognition (orientation, visuospatial, memory, executive functioning), fragility, and neuropsychiatric symptoms (delirium, agitation, depression) were predictive of caregiver burden. After controlling for AQ scores and caregiver gender, greater symptoms of depression, and worse performances on verbal memory and problem solving were associated with greater caregiver burden.

Conclusion: Worsening patient fragility, cognition, functioning, and neuropsychiatric symptoms influenced caregiver burden in caregivers of individuals with suspected cognitive impairment in the DRC. These findings are consistent with the prior literature. Future studies may wish to explore supportive factors and caregiver specific characteristics that buffer against perceived burden.

Keywords: caregiver; dementia; sub-Saharan Africa.

MeSH terms

  • Caregiver Burden
  • Caregivers*
  • Cognition
  • Dementia*
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects