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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


DE VILLIERS, Danette; VAN HEERDEN, Susanna Maria  and  NEL, Mariette. Roles, experiences and needs of caregivers of people with Parkinson's disease in South Africa. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2008, vol.38, n.3, pp.11-13. ISSN 2310-3833.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive, debilitating and demanding condition. Caregivers must continually cope with a variety of stressors due to changes resulting from the disease process. The aim of this descriptive study was to investigate the roles, experiences and needs of caregivers of people with PD in South Africa. A convenient sample of 400 people with PD was drawn from the Parkinson's Association of South Africa (PASA) address list. Questionnaires were sent to these people in the hope of identifying caregivers. There were 131 respondents (28.7% response rate). Most caregivers were spouses and the majority was not employed. Sixty percent felt they were adequately informed about PD and 61% felt they received adequate support. Caregivers experienced stress as a result of the disease and the financial burden it placed on the family. The main needs identified by caregivers were emotional support, strategies to ease care giving tasks, time to socialise and free time.

Keywords : Needs; Caregivers; Parkinson's disease.

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