Continuing care of an elderly patient with Alzheimer’s disease may result in psychosocial and physical disorders in family caregivers, as well as limitations to providing complete care.
The aim of the present study was to determine the effectiveness of resilience education in the mental health of family caregivers of elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
This study followed a randomized, clinical trial design. The study population consisted of family caregivers of elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease who referred to hospitals and neurologists’ offices located in the western cities of Mazandaran province, Iran. Data were collected between 2016 and 2017. Fifty-four family caregivers were recruited through convenience sampling and randomized into control and intervention groups (27 in each group). Demographic characteristics, Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, and General Health Questionnaire were used for data collection. Resilience education was provided in eight sessions (45 min each) using PowerPoint presentations and educational pamphlets. The mental health scores were calculated using the indices including normality tests and analyzed using the independent and paired t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Bonferroni test.
An independent t-test showed improvements in the mental health status of those who received the educational intervention (mean difference: 23.8 ± 6.4; P < 0.001). The independent t-test also indicated statistically significant differences between the groups’ anxiety/insomnia (8.8±2.3 versus -0.12±2.5), somatic symptoms (7.2±2.2 versus -0.9±1.03), social dysfunction (4.5±2.9 versus 0.2 ± 1.3), and depression (3.2 ± 2.2 versus -0.08 ± 0.6; P < 0.001).
Resilience education successfully improved the mental health of family caregivers. Therefore, it is suggested that healthcare providers, Alzheimer’s associations, and NGOs provide educational interventions to help promote the caregivers’ mental health.