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Mild Cognitive Impairment and Caregiver Burden: A Critical Review and Research Agenda

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Abstract

Aging is a global phenomenon that is accompanied by an increase in the number of persons with non-communicable diseases including dementia. Since this development requires public health attention to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of elderly persons and their caregivers, scientific and clinical research in the area of dementia and cognitive disorders during the last decade has shifted to focus on the early diagnosis of the disease and, more specifically, on mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is associated with severe consequences at the societal, individual and familial levels. However, compared to the wealth of studies in the area of caregiver burden and Alzheimer’s disease, research in the area of MCI and caregiver burden is still developing. The aim of the present paper was to provide an analysis of the status of research regarding caregiver burden in MCI. This review indicated that despite important advances, gaps in the knowledge and understanding of caregiver burden in MCI remain. Only a clear delineation of the uniqueness of the concept of burden of care in MCI, accompanied by methodologically rigorous studies, will inform the development of interventions geared to reduce the burden of family members of persons with MCI.

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Correspondence to Professor Perla Werner PhD.

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Key words

  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • caregiver burden