Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD
Formal publication: May 2021
Background: People with dementia and their family caregivers may face a great burden through social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be manifested as various behavioral and clinical symptoms.
Objective: To investigate the impacts of social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals with dementia and their family caregivers.
Methods: Two semi-structured questionnaires were applied via telephone to family caregivers of people diagnosed with dementia in three cities in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, in order to assess clinical and behavioral changes in people with dementia and in their caregivers.
Results: In general, 321 interviews were conducted. A significant decline in memory function has been reported among 53.0%of people with dementia. In addition, 31.2%of individuals with dementia felt sadder and 37.4%had increased anxiety symptoms. These symptoms of anxiety were greater in individuals with mild to moderate dementia, while symptoms of agitation were greater in individuals with severe dementia. Moreover, compulsive-obsessive behavior, hallucinations, increased forgetfulness, altered appetite, and increased difficulty in activities of daily living were reported more frequently among individuals with moderate to severe dementia. Caregivers reported feeling more tired and overwhelmed during this period and these symptoms were also influenced by the severity of dementia.
Conclusion: Social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a series of negative behavioral repercussions, both for people with dementia and for their family caregivers in these three South American countries.
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