Health literacy and its correlates in informal caregivers of adults with memory loss

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Abstract

This secondary analysis examined health literacy among informal caregivers of community-dwelling older adults with memory loss and assessed correlates of caregiver health literacy using the Abilities, Skills and Knowledge Model. Caregiver health literacy (n = 91) was assessed by the Newest Vital Sign. Limited health literacy presented in 38.5% caregivers, with significantly low document literacy. Health literacy was associated bivariately with age, education, global cognitive function, executive function, and working memory (all ps < 0.001), as well as medication knowledge (p = 0.015). Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that older age (p = 0.017), and lower global cognitive function (p < 0.001), working memory (p = 0.001), and academic skills (years of education) (p = 0.004), independently predicted lower health literacy (R2 = 0.54). Medication knowledge, however, was not found to be an independent predictor in the model. Findings suggest limited health literacy is a potential issue among informal caregivers of adults with memory loss. Appropriate assessment and personalized support are needed for informal caregivers who are at high risk for poor health literacy.

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