2014 Volume 19 Issue 1 Pages 81-90
Purpose: The goal of the study was to examine the effectiveness of a peer support group program at a community general support center for female family caregivers of the elderly with dementia. Methods: Subjects were randomly assigned to an intervention group (4 centers, n=22) or a control group (4 centers, n=32) based on population aging rate in a community. Subjects in the intervention group participated in a 90-minute-program consisting of listening to the senior caregiver's experience, exchanging feelings and opinions among caregivers, and receiving professional instruction for 2 consecutive months. Results: In spite of the unevenness in characteristics of the subjects in the two groups, the intervention group exhibited positive significant effects on the caregiver's burden and mental health status after 1 month, but no significant effect was observed after 3 months. Conclusion: This study suggests that a peer support group program, consisting of exchanging feelings and opinions, in a community general support center may be effective for the improvement of the caregiver's burden and mental health status in the short-term, and may provide support both for caregivers and professionals.