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Original Article

Psychodramatic group therapy on Alzheimer patients’ caregiver relatives

Gülfizar Sözeri Varma, Nalan Kalkan Oğuzhanoğlu, Figen Çulha Ateşci, Nursel Karagöz, Ferda Apa.

Objective: The objective of the study was to provide support to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) caregiver in coping with the difficulties of acquiring knowledge on the disease and of providing care to the patient. The effects of psycho-dramatic group therapy on the mental symptoms and care burden were examined. Methods: Patient relatives who participated in the Denizli Alzheimer Association activities also took part in the study. Psychiatric examinations of the participants were carried out prior to group therapy, sociodemographic data form and scales were applied. A total of 11 sessions for the first group and 12 second for the second group were carried out as 1 day per week for a period of 2-2.5 hours. A total of 11 individuals completed the first group and 9 individuals completed the second group. Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HAD), Caregiver Burden Inventory (CBI) were applied before and after group therapy. Results: All participants of the first group were female with an age interval of 46-65 years. They were all children of the patients excluding two participants and majority was high school-university graduates. It was determined after group therapy that HAD total and anxiety scores, CBI total and social burden scores decreased. The age interval of the second group participants was 53-83 years and the only male member was also the oldest individual to take part in the study. They were all spouses of the patients excluding two members and all were primary school graduates save for 1 literate member. No statistically significant difference was observed between the scale scores before and after group therapy. It was observed when the two groups were evaluated together that there were statistically significant decreases in HAD and total anxiety scores, CBI total score but that there were no changes in the other scores. Group studies started with the establishment of group rules, going over the expecta-tions from groups and warm-up games. Psychodramatic techniques were used to gamify issues such as the symp-toms of the disease, frequently experienced behavioral problems, difficulties related with caregiving and methods for coping with them, things that can be experienced as the disease progresses, communication problems within the family, inability to ask for help regarding caregiving, placing in a care center. Participation to the groups was regular and the members were quite supportive. Patient relatives had the opportunity to share the difficulties they experience as well as to express their emotions. Conclusion: Psychoeducation on AD caregiver relatives reduces anxiety symptoms and care burden in addition to providing mental support. Our results lead us to think that when caregivers are spouses of the patients, they feel the burden of caregiving more since they are also elderly and that they cannot benefit sufficiently from sources of support.

Key words: Alzheimer disease, caregiver, caregiver burden, depression, anxiety

Article Language: Turkish English

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