12 March 2015
A USC research project is aiming to help families cope with the ongoing stress that follows the placement of elderly loved ones into aged care facilities.
USC Master of Clinical Psychology student Amanda Axsentieff is leading the project, called Finding Benefits Study, which is being run in conjunction with NoosaCare Inc.
Ms Axsentieff is calling for primary carers who have experienced placing a loved one in an aged care facility – be they wives, husbands, sons or daughters – to participate in the study.
She said our rapidly aging population was placing strain on those charged with the care of elderly family members.
“As the number of older persons increases worldwide, greater stress is placed on family members to care for individuals experiencing illnesses and disease associated with old age,” she said.
“Numerous studies have suggested that caring for the elderly places a considerable toll on a person’s physical and mental health.”
Ms Axsentieff said the Finding Benefits Study aimed to help families find meaning in being a caregiver.
“There has been substantial research into the effect of moving into an aged care facility for care recipients,” Ms Axsentieff continues. “A less studied field is the impact of this transition on the family.
“Primary caregivers often devote many years of their lives to the wellbeing of their partners or parents, only to then experience stress and anxiety when the time comes to place that loved one in an aged care facility.
“Providing coping skills education and support to caregivers should reduce the amount of guilt and depressive symptoms they experience. In turn, this will support a more engaging relationship with facility staff and ultimately create better quality of life for care recipients.”
Those wishing to volunteer for the study can phone 0411 955 421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms Axsentieff’s project supervisors are USC’s Professor of Psychology Mary Katsikitis and Lecturer in Psychology Dr Prue Millear.
— Brent Hampstead