Document Type

Critically Appraised Topic

Publication Date


Clinical Scenario

Currently, dementia is affecting many American adults, their family members, and caregivers who provide them direct long term care. Dementia is one of the most prevalent problems with older adults (Ferri et al., 2005). In 2005, there were 24.3 million people with dementia worldwide, which is projected to grow to 81.1 million by 2040. There is a high demand for people to provide care for individuals that have dementia symptoms. However, there is a large burden of strain associated with the care giving experience. This caregiver strain and burden is often times manifested through depression, anxiety and burnout. It is essential for occupational therapists to know most current and best practice for supporting caregivers and giving them techniques to prevent burnout.

Clinical Question

What strategies have been most effective for preventing burnout for caregivers who provide direct long-term care to family members who suffer from Alzheimer?

Clinical Bottom Line

There is a large body of evidence that supports interventions for caregivers to decrease the amount of burnout through psycho-education and social support. In addition, by better educating caregivers about the progression of this disease, they can better develop coping skills and the ability to predict how the progression of the disease will affect them and can even positively affect patient behavior. The caregiver takes on an important role in providing structure and routine in the life of the AD patients. It is important for occupational therapist to address what activities and environments best support care-giving.