The well-being of family members of elderly memory-impaired individuals was explored in four dimensions: physical wellbeing, emotional health, financial capital and social involvement. Results showed that, according to random group surveys, caregivers are more likely to report emotional wellbeing and social engagement issues. In comparison, the features of the caregiver condition were more closely related to the well-being of the caregiver than the disease features of the patients.
The results of this study have both methodological and substantive implications for our understanding of the impact of caregiving upon family members providing assistance to older, memory-impaired adults. Methodologically, the well-being measures have been demonstrated to be highly useful for examining the impact of caregiving. Use of the wellbeing measures permitted us to compare levels of well-being between the caregiver sample and random community samples and, thus, to identify the dimensions of well-being most at risk for caregiving related decrements. The well-being measures also proved to be quite sensitive to variations in the caregiving context.