A financial impact scale for long-term caregivers: application to Alzheimer family caregivers
Todtman, Kathee L
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The primary purpose of this study was to develop a scale to assess the financial impact of long-term caregivers. The secondary purpose of this study was to administer the scale (the Financial Impact Scale) to a sample of 192 caregivers of victims of Alzheimer's Disease in order to shed light on this unique caregiving experience. Established scale development procedures were followed. Factor analysis resulted in a reliable unidimensional 20-item scale with a Cronbach's Alpha of .9324. Validity was established by correlating the scale with the Zarit 29-item general burden inventory and was found to have an r of .6682, p < .001. In order to strengthen validity, correlations were also calculated between the scale and two global questions used widely in the financial planning literature to measure financial well-being. The Financial Impact Scale was found to have a significant negative correlation with one of these questions which related to adequacy of income (r= -.3666, p < .05). Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA) was utilized and revealed several population characteristics. Women reported significantly greater financial impact than men, whereas men reported significantly greater general burden than women. Caregivers of dependents without private long-term care insurance reported greater financial impact than those with dependents who had private long-term care insurance. Caregivers of dependents who did not own their home reported greater financial impact than caregivers of dependents who did own their home. Caregivers with dependents with higher levels of functioning reported significantly greater financial impact than dependents with lower levels of functioning. As a research tool, the Financial Impact Scale provides a reliable and valid quantitative assessment of an important aspect of the caregiving experience. The scale could be used to assist in the design of appropriate caregiver interventions. Inclusion of the scale in a battery of assessments could shed light on caregiver burden. Recommendations were made for future research utilizing the Financial Impact Scale.