Behavioral Programs for Families of Dependent Elderly

  • Judy M. Zarit
  • Steven H. Zarit
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series (NSSB)


In the past few years, there has been increased public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other disabling conditions of later life, including the sometimes extreme stresses that these problems create for family caregivers. The presence of involved family members often makes the difference between whether or not an elder is institutionalized, but caregiving can also take its toll, affecting the social, physical, or mental well-being of family members. All too frequently, however, the family is given little assistance or training to help reduce the burdens associated with their involvement, or to improve management of everyday tasks and problems caused by the elder’s disability. In this chapter the authors summarize the problem of chronic disability in old age as it affects families, discuss assessment issues, and outline a treatment strategy to alleviate some of the stress that often accompanies active caregiving. Of particular importance in working with families of older persons are issues of identifying the client and clarifying the initial request, which are often neglected in the treatment literature. Recent research suggests that behavior management techniques used in the context of the family system can be effective in reducing the sense of burden and distress of caring for a frail older person, whether he or she lives in the community or in a nursing home or other institution. The implementation of these approaches for problems of elders and their families will be emphasized.


Primary Caregiver Family Caregiver Dementia Patient Senile Dementia Behavioral Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judy M. Zarit
    • 1
  • Steven H. Zarit
    • 2
  1. 1.Child, Adult, and Family Psychological CenterState CollegeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Individual and Family StudiesPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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