Evaluating Respite Care for Caregivers of Persons With Alzheimer's Disease

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1994, Vol 39(2), 185–187. Reviews the book, Respite for Caregivers of Alzheimer Patients: Research and Practice by M. Powell Lawton, Elaine M. Brody, and Avalie R. Saperstein (1991). This book describes one of the most important studies conducted to date of respite services for families caring for a relative with Alzheimer's disease. Although focused on the elderly, the study addresses a number of central topics for anyone interested in formal service use, help-seeking behavior, or family caregiving. Study results also raise important issues for long-term care policy. This study also points to the need for alternative outcome measures for assessing the effects of services. Future investigations must find ways of testing for service impacts despite continued deterioration in the condition of the impaired elder. Appropriate outcome measures also must be developed with an awareness that formal services usually are only low-intensity supplements to the efforts of family. Perhaps the most appropriate indicators for evaluating services are perceptions of satisfaction with specific service objectives or tasks. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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