Published Papers - Abstract 347

Tooth L, Russell A, Lucke J, Byrne G, Lee C, Wilson A & Dobson A. Impact of cognitive and physical impairment on carer burden and quality of life. Quality of Life Research, 2008; 17(2): 267-273

Background and purpose: How the cognitive and/or physical impairment experienced by care recipients impacts on their carers is not well understood. This study investigated the effect of type of impairment of care recipients on the level of burden and quality of life (QOL) of elderly Australian carers. Methods: A nested cross-sectional substudy of 276 older women (aged 78-83 years) enrolled in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, who indicated they were providing care for someone living with them.Results: In this nationally representative sample of elderly women carers, 60% were looking after people (predominantly their husbands) who had both cognitive and physical impairments. Carers of people with both types of impairments had higher scores for objective burden of caring than those caring for people with either type of impairment alone. In contrast, scores for limitations on their own lives were higher among women caring for people with cognitive impairments (with or without physical impairments). Conclusions: The majority of elderly women who are caring for someone else are likely to suffer multifaceted burdens of caring.