Effects of home-based stress management training on primary caregivers of elderly people with dementia in South Korea

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Concern about dementia among families caring for frail elderly is at an all-time high in South Korea wherein the number of seniors has greatly increased. Dementia disorders create considerable stress and cost to caregivers due to cognitive impairment, behavioral disorders, and rapid decreases in the functional capacities of patients. Families of dementia patients must be provided with an opportunity to deal effectively with their highly stressful situation. Currently available clinical services for caregivers, however, are strikingly sparse in South Korea. This study examines the effects of stress management training for Korean primary caregivers of dementia patients. Stress management training was provided in the homes of individual caregivers. Taking into consideration Korean caregivers' strong tendency to provide care for elderly with dementia within the family setting, emphasis was placed on home-based individual training. Meeting caregivers in their own homes makes it possible to acquire great insight into and understanding of the caregiver on the stress-inducing situation in the home setting. The stress level for the experimental group was reduced significantly. Theoretical and practice implications of home-based training and cultural relevance of this type of training are discussed.

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