Background The “Aconchego” Day Center (ADC) aims to care for elderly individuals with limited functional capacity, an unprecedented strategy in a medium-sized city in the State of São Paulo (Brazil). It was created 10 years ago, due to the high degree of emotional burden of elderly caregivers and lack of community care resources for the elderly or support for the families. The ADC is a non-governmental organisation and offers free space for social interaction, cognitive and physical stimulation, guidance and support to caregivers.
Objective Describe the sociodemographic, cognitive and affective aspects of the elderly (n=46) and their caregivers (n=34) through a cross-sectional descriptive study evaluating cognitive functioning, dementia, depressive symptoms, performance in basic (BADLs) and instrumental (IADLs) activities of daily living, and emotional overload and common mental disorder of the caregiver.
Results The mean age of the elderly individuals was 77 years-old (SD ±9), 76% were women, 67% live without a partner, 93% were retired and 50% had <4 years schooling. Average participation in the ADC was 24 months, 79% presented cognitive impairment and 57% mild, moderate or severe dementia. For BADLs, 94% showed some dependence on caregivers, while for IADLs, 100% were dependent. Among the elderly, 35% presented depressive symptoms that are correlated with the presence of cognitive impairment (p=0.004). Among the caregivers, 47% reported emotional overload, while 41% presented common mental disorders. The relevance of the proposal was verified, considering the fragility of the elderly and the burden and emotional distress of caregivers.
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