Caregiver Support Service Needs for Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer Disease

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Little is known about the service needs for persons caring for individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). In this study, the level of support service need for caregivers of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer disease (AD; N=55) and MCI (N=25) was compared with normal controls (N=44). Study partners (ie, caregivers) completed questionnaires about their service needs and participants' neurobehavioral symptoms, functional abilities, and frailty. Total, social, and mental health service needs were significantly different among the 3 groups (P<0.0001), with MCI and AD caregivers reporting more need for services as compared with the normal control group. There was no significant difference between MCI and AD groups for total and social service need. In the MCI group, caregiver's service need was related to neurobehavioral symptoms and frailty, whereas service need among the AD caregivers was related to functional disability and frailty. Caregivers of individuals with MCI are already experiencing a need for increased services comparable to that of individuals caring for AD patients, though the pattern of patient-related factors is different between the 2 patient groups. These findings suggest possible areas of intervention that could be considered at the earliest stages of memory loss.

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