Journal List > Dement Neurocogn Disord > v.11(1) > 1120792

Dement Neurocogn Disord. 2012 Mar;11(1):13-17. Korean.
Published online Mar 31, 2012.
Copyright© 2012 Korean Dementia Association
Who Takes Care of Patients with Dementia in Korea: A Study on the Present State of Patients with Dementia Living Alone and Primary Caregivers
Bora Yoon, M.D.,* Yong S. Shim, M.D., Yong-Duk Kim, M.D.,* Kee Ook Lee, M.D.,* Sang-Jun Na, M.D.,* Yun-Jeong Hong, M.D., and Dong-Won Yang, M.D.
*Department of Neurology, Konyang University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.
Department of Neurology, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Address for correspondence: Dong-Won Yang, M.D. Department of Neurology, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, 505 Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul 137-701, Korea. Tel: +82-2-2258-6077, Fax: +82-2-599-9686, Email:
Received Nov 08, 2011; Revised Feb 21, 2012; Accepted Feb 21, 2012.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



Cultural characteristics of taking care of patients with dementia in Korea are based on the influence of Confucianism on the lifestyle of Koreans. In addition, as the family size has been getting smaller, the number of old persons who live alone has been increasing. The purpose of this study is to examine the proportion of the elderly with dementia who live alone and demographics of caregivers when such patients live with their family.


From the multiple hospital-based cohort, 973 elderly patients with very mild dementia (Clinical Dementia Rating [CDR]=0.5), 1,056 patients with mild dementia (CDR=1) and 359 patients with moderate dementia (CDR=2) were recruited. We analyzed the proportion of the patients with dementia who live alone and the demographics of the caregivers if such patients live with and are taken care of by such caregivers depending upon the severity of dementia.


The proportion of the patients with dementia who live alone accounts for about 40% of all elderly patients with dementia. Major age groups of caregivers are of 40s and 50s. Sons, daughters, and spouses were ranked in the said order in the proportion of caregivers according to their relationship to patients.


Up to now, family members care for about 60% of elderly patients with dementia, which may suggest that from the objective viewpoint, direct burden borne by caregivers for old patients with dementia would be considerably high. On the other hand, about 40% of dementia patients live alone, implying that the social care system is needed for them.

Keywords: Caregiver; Dementia; Demographics


Fig. 1
Age distribution of caregivers according to CDR. Blue box represents CDR 0.5, red one CDR 1 and green one CDR 2.
Click for larger image

Fig. 2
The types of caregivers of total patients with dementia (A) and the types of caregivers depending on CDR (B).
Click for larger image


Table 1
Clinical characteristics of dementia patients according to CDR
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Table 2
Clinical characteristics of dementia patients depending on living alone/together
Click for larger image

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