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GAZZETTA MEDICA ITALIANA ARCHIVIO PER LE SCIENZE MEDICHE

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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2005 February;164(1):17-22

language: Italian

The caregiver and the elderly patient

Gareri P. 1, 2, Lacava R. 2, Ruotolo G. 3, Covello L. B. 4, Galasso S. 3, Galasso D. 3, De Sarro G. 1

1 Cattedra di Farmacologia, Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Clinica, Università degli Studi Magna Graecia, Azienda Ospedaliera Materdomini, Catanzaro;
2 Unità Operativa Complessa Geriatrica Territoriale, Tutela Salute Anziani, ASL n. 7, Catanzaro;
3 Unità di Medicina II, Azienda Ospedaliera Pugliese-Ciaccio, Catanzaro;
4 Infermiere Professionale, ASL n. 5, Mesoraca (KR)


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Caring for an elderly person is demanding, but is usually perceived as an interesting and rewarding experience, even if it depends on the severity, kind and duration of disabilities. In 60-70% of the cases, the caregiver is a family member, but sometimes he himself or she herself is old, presenting a number of diseases which reduces his or her self-government. Senile dementia is one of the most demanding diseases in caregiving, especially when behavioral and psychological disorders are present. The onset of stress is frequent in caregivers and causes deep psychological and physical consequences or the hospitalization of the elderly patient. Caregiver stress is well described by a U-shaped curve, with the utmost at the beginning and at the end stage of the disease. In conclusion, future gerontological research ought to be turned on an adequate organization of territory services, especially in lacking areas such as Southern Italy; starting point is a geriatric multidimensional assessment, together with a careful definition of the roles and responsibilities of those professionals involved in elderly care and the improvement in integrating medical and social services.

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