Evidence Summary

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Providing multiple interventions to support family caregivers living with people with dementia may improve their overall health and well-being

Abrahams R, Liu KPY, Bissett M, et al.  Effectiveness of interventions for co-residing family caregivers of people with dementia: Systematic review and meta-analysis  Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 2018; 65(3): 208-224.

Review question

  • Are multi-component interventions for family caregivers of people with dementia effective in improving burden, depression, overall health and social support?


  • Caregivers who live with and support family members with dementia perform daily tasks, often deliver care all day and night, which can lead to disruptions in their mental, physical and social health.
  • Healthcare professionals such as occupational therapists offer support to these family caregivers through education, stress management, counselling and exercise promotion.
  • While each individual intervention may provide helpful support, using multiple interventions at once to support family caregivers living with people with dementia may be a more promising way to help them.

How the review was done

  • A detailed search of a number of electronic databases for studies published up to and including 2015 was conducted. Studies that focused on healthcare professionals such as occupational therapists assisting family caregivers living with people with dementia were included in the review.
  • A total of 358 studies were identified in searches, and 22 were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.
  • This review was partly funded by the Western Sydney University School of Science in Australia.

What the researchers found

  • The review found benefits from using multiple interventions for supporting family caregivers living with people with dementia who experience burden, depression and disruptions to their health and social life.
  • The researchers found that supporting family caregivers may delay the need for the people with dementia to move to an assisted-living facility.
  • Researchers were unable to determine which specific strategies used to support family caregivers would provide the best outcomes.


  • Family caregivers who live with people with dementia can benefit from multiple support interventions. Such interventions may delay the need to move the person with dementia to an assisted-living facility.
  • Researchers could not determine which specific mix of interventions was the most effective. However, most effective strategies included a combination of counselling, support groups, education, stress and mood management, or telephone support.

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DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

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