Ms. Jente Bosma – a research assistant at Alzheimer’s Ghana – is currently conducting an exploratory qualitative study about the impact of caregiving on family members of people affected with dementia in Ghana. An abstract about the form of the study can be found here.

The impact of living with someone affected by dementia on family members and caregivers in Ghana.

The world population is getting older and along with aging the prevalence of dementia is on the rise, as the syndrome is most common among elderly. This phenomenon is especially taking place in low-to middle-income countries. In the African region, Ghana is one of the countries affected most. In 2005 it was expected that the population aged 60 and older is growing with 147% by the time of 2030. With the expected increase of older people in Ghana, the prevalence of dementia will also rise for which it is becoming a major problem. When affected with dementia the need for care increases resulting in dependency. However, the awareness about dementia in Ghana is low and formal care for mental health is lacking. As a result, the persons affected with dementia become reliant on the informal care provided by their family members, which may impact their lives drastically.

The main aim of this study is to investigate the impact experienced by family caregivers and what factors contribute to this in order to contribute to the creation of awareness about dementia and to develop interventions to reduce caregiver burden in Ghana. In order to reach this aim an explorative qualitative research design including semi-structured interviews is conducted. The research participants will exist out of family members and caregivers living with someone affected with dementia. In the study, 8 or more families living throughout the country will be included in the study and from each family 2 – 4 family members and caregivers are interviewed individually or in small groups. The main themes discussed during the interviews are: family characteristics, caring role, dementia knowledge, stressors related primarily to caregiving, stressors related to restrictions in life due to caregiving, coping strategies and social support. The outcomes of the study are the impact on social, physical and mental health. Furthermore, framework analysis of qualitative data retrieved from semi-structured interviews will be performed in order to answer the research question: what is the impact of living with someone affected by dementia on family members and caregivers and which factors contribute the most in Ghana?



Ms. Susanne Spittel – a Volunteer of Alzheimer`s Ghana – researched the health care situation of older and demented people in Ghana. One of the conclusions is that there is a big deficit and dilemma concerning the health care situation of people suffering from dementia. Respective abstract can be found here. Further information will be posted in due course.

The health care situation of older people and people suffering from dementia in Ghana.

Everywhere in the world the population of the elderly is increasing and dementia is rising. Especially in Ghana the proportion of aged people grows faster than in many developed countries and fastest throughout Africa.  In the context of an explorative study – with the aim to identify the challenges of health care of older people with and without dementia in Ghana – various and interesting results have been founded. In order to prepare first scientific data as well as generate hypotheses for future studies a quantitative and qualitative research with an explorative, descriptive and contextual research approach was applied. Interviews were conducted with five Ghanaian experts and one expert from Germany. Besides that, 175 questionnaires were handed out to Ghanaian nursing students.  The results revealed that people in Ghana grow increasingly older. A corresponding ageing policy has not been implemented and there are no adequate insurance or assistance facilities for the elderly. Moreover, there is a lack of education to the process of ageing resulting in a stigmatization and neglect of the aged people. People in Ghana still accuse and condemn demented people to witchcraft. As a consequence these people have to live in witch-camps or are beaten and even killed.  The Ghanaian health care system is not prepared for the rapid ageing population and the increase of age-related diseases like dementia. A lack of specialists and aged care facilities are a big deficit for a functioning and sufficient health care for the aged. Moreover, lacking knowledge about the ageing process and dementia requires better education and a raising awareness that dementia is a frequent illness in older age. Ghana has to put these issues on national agenda and further research is mandatory.