Adult day services for dementia patients provide stress relief to family caregivers

May 23, 2013, Pennsylvania State University

Family caregivers of older adults with dementia are less stressed and their moods are improved on days when dementia patients receive adult day services (ADS), according to Penn State researchers.

"Caregivers who live with and care for someone with dementia can experience extraordinary amounts of stress," said Steven Zarit, professor and head, human development and family studies. "The use of adult day services appears to provide caregivers with a much-needed break that can possibly protect them from the caused by ."

The researchers conducted eight daily telephone interviews on consecutive days with 173 of individuals with dementia who use an ADS—a service that is designed to provide social and some health services to adults who need supervised care outside the home during the day. On some of the interview days, the individuals with dementia attended an ADS program. On other days they were with the caregiver most or all of the time. In the daily interviews, the researchers asked the caregivers about the and positive events they had been exposed to, as well as their mood and health symptoms during the day.

"Multiple daily reports allow us to compare each person to himself or herself on ADS and non-ADS days," said Zarit. "We can then assess if each person shows improvement in stressor exposure, mood and health symptoms on ADS days compared to non-ADS days. This comparison provides a more fundamental indicator of improvement than how that individual might compare to a group average."

Next, the team used multi-level statistical models to analyze the results of the telephone interviews. The results will appear in today's (May 23) issue of The Gerontologist.

The researchers found that caregivers had lower exposure to care-related stressors and more positive experiences on days when their family members with dementia used ADS. On these days, caregivers also were exposed to more non-care stressors. Yet the overall effect of the use of adult day services on caregivers was lowered anger and reduced impact of non-care stressors on depressive symptoms.

"ADS days were associated with a small increase in non-care stressors, yet caregivers reacted to high levels of non-care stressors with less depressive mood on ADS days than non-ADS days, so we conclude that the use of ADS has a buffering effect on the relation of non-care stressors on depressive mood," said Zarit. "Overall, our findings demonstrate that stressors on caregivers are partly lowered and mood is improved on days when their relatives attend adult day service programs, which may provide protection against the negative effects of chronic stress associated with caregiving."

Explore further: Adult day care services provide much-needed break to family caregivers

Related Stories

Adult day care services provide much-needed break to family caregivers

July 18, 2011
Adult day care services significantly reduce the stress levels of family caregivers of older adults with dementia, according to a team of Penn State and Virginia Tech researchers.

Family caregiving stress filled and isolating

April 22, 2010
Family members who provide care to relatives with dementia, but do not have formal training, frequently experience overwhelming stress that sometimes leads to breakdowns or depression, according to Penn State and Benjamin ...

Caregivers and their relatives disagree about care given, received

August 1, 2011
Caregivers and their relatives who suffer from mild to moderate dementia often have different perceptions regarding the amount and quality of care given and received. A study by researchers at Penn State and the Benjamin ...

Caregivers may benefit from adult day care

June 30, 2009
Caring for an elderly family member can be stressful and can pose health threats to caregiver givers. Steven Zarit, professor and head, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State, received a $3 million ...

Study shows hospice caregivers need routine care interventions

November 30, 2011
A study led by the University of Kentucky researcher Elaine Wittenberg-Lyles found that hospice family caregivers are "second order patients" themselves and require their own unique care needs.

Cognitive reframing can help dementia caregivers with depression, stress

November 9, 2011
Family caregivers of people with dementia experience more burden and are at greater risk of developing depression than caregivers of people with a chronic illness. A new evidence review from the Netherlands finds that a psychotherapy ...

Recommended for you

Removing sweets from checkouts linked to dramatic fall in unhealthy snack purchases

December 18, 2018
Policies aimed at removing sweets and crisps from checkouts could lead to a dramatic reduction to the amount of unhealthy food purchased to eat 'on the go' and a significant reduction in that purchased to take home, suggests ...

Junk food diet raises depression risk, researchers find

December 18, 2018
A diet of fast food, cakes and processed meat increases your risk of depression, according to researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Children of problem drinkers more likely to marry someone with a drinking problem: study

December 18, 2018
Children of parents who have alcohol use disorder are more likely to get married under the age of 25, less likely to get married later in life, and more likely to marry a person who has alcohol use disorder themselves, according ...

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

Study shows magnesium optimizes vitamin D status

December 14, 2018
A randomized trial by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers indicates that magnesium optimizes vitamin D status, raising it in people with deficient levels and lowering it in people with high levels.

A holiday gift to primary care doctors: Proof of their time crunch

December 14, 2018
The average primary care doctor needs to work six more hours a day than they already do, in order to make sure their patients get all the preventive and early-detection care they want and deserve, a new study finds.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.