Elder Caregiving in South-Asian Families in the United States and India

Rashmi Gupta, Vijayan K. Pillai

Abstract

Provision of care to the elderly has been identified as a chronic stressor that places caregivers at risk for physical and emotional problems (Aneshensel, Pearlin, Mullan, Zarit, & Whitlach, 1995). Providing care to an elderly relative often restricts the personal life, social life, and employment of the caregiver. It is also associated with increased psychological distress (Donaldson, Tarrier, & Burns, 1998; Schulz, O’Brien, Bookwala, & Fleissner, 1995). For example, up to 48% of dementia caregivers have been identified as being at risk for psychiatric symptomatology (Brodarty & Hadzi-Pavlovic, 1990; Draper, Poulos, Cole, Poulos, & Ehrlich, 1992). Caregivers may have less time to spend with friends, fulfill family obligations, or to pursue leisure activities (Gilleard, Gilleard, Gledhill, & Whittick, 1984; Kosberg & Cairl, 1986; Zarit, Reever, & Bach- Petersen, 1980). Furthermore, caregivers are often faced with difficult care giving tasks while faced with verbal, physical aggression, confusion (Teri, Truax, Logsdon, Uomoto, Zarit, & Vitaliano, 1992) and behavior problems of demented care recipients. Because the progression of the care receivers’ illnesses and care needs are difficult to foresee, caregivers feel uncertain about their own abilities to carry out all the tasks for their own well being as the well being of the recipient (Poulshok & Deimling, 1984).

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