Caregivers of those with dementia may benefit from tailored interventions

July 18, 2013, Lifespan

Rhode Island Hospital researchers have found that multiple factors contribute to the burden felt by caregivers of people living with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. These factors include the direct impact of providing care upon the caregivers' lives, guilt, and frustration or embarrassment. The study is published online in advance of print in American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

The study, conducted by Beth A. Springate, Ph.D, and Geoffrey Tremont, Ph.D, of the division of in the department of psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital, found that may benefit from interventions tailored to their specific type of burden.

"Caregivers are often physically and emotionally exhausted when caring for a spouse or parent who is suffering from some form of , including Alzheimer's," Springate said. "There are so many factors that contribute to the burden felt by the caregiver, such as the relationship between the caregiver and patient, the severity of the dementia and the age of the caregiver. There is simply no one-size-fits-all response to their burden, and they would greatly benefit from interventions specific to their situation."

These burdens can have detrimental effects on the caregiver, including poorer physical health, increased rates of and depression.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are 5 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer's, and it is the country's sixth leading cause of death. More than 15 million family and friends provide care for those with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, resulting in 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care each year.

"It's taxing to say the least," said Tremont, the study's senior author. "Their lives are essentially put on hold while they care for their loved ones, and their own health can suffer as a result. It's hard to worry about taking care of yourself when you feel responsible to take care of someone else, someone who has needs that seem much greater than your own."

The study observed both spousal caregivers and adult children caregivers, with a total of 206 participants. The results of these participants demonstrated that about 84 percent of caregivers reported a clinically significant burden. Within the three factors that were discovered to be significant contributors to burden, frustration or embarrassment showed a direct correlation to the impact on the caregiver's life. The last factor, feelings of guilt, did not show a correlation to the other factors, however, it did show a direct relation to depressive symptoms, as did frustration and embarrassment.

"Guilt, frustration and embarrassment are all very normal feelings when providing care for someone with dementia," Tremont said. "It's important that caregivers know this, and know that they aren't alone."

The researchers noted that limitations do exist to this study because of the predominantly Caucasian female caregiver population caring mostly for patients with Alzheimer's disease, compared to other types of dementia. Due to this and other factors, further research should be conducted.

Explore further: Study investigates whether improving sleep reduces heart disease risk in caregivers

Related Stories

Study investigates whether improving sleep reduces heart disease risk in caregivers

July 9, 2013
The University of South Florida College of Nursing is conducting research to improve sleep in those caring for people with dementia and Alzheimer's disease, with the aim of determining if better sleep affects heart health. ...

Columbia Nursing develops online tool to reduce stress in Hispanic caregivers of dementia patients

June 11, 2013
Dementia often claims two victims: The patient and the caregiver. That's because caring for people with dementia requires close supervision and constant care, which can place a caregiver's psychological, physical and financial ...

A third of US seniors die with dementia, study finds

March 19, 2013
(HealthDay)—There's more troubling news for America's aging population: A new report finds that one in every three seniors now dies while suffering from Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.

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

May 23, 2013
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.

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

Anxiety: An early indicator of Alzheimer's disease?

January 12, 2018
A new study suggests an association between elevated amyloid beta levels and the worsening of anxiety symptoms. The findings support the hypothesis that neuropsychiatric symptoms could represent the early manifestation of ...

One of the most promising drugs for Alzheimer's disease fails in clinical trials

January 11, 2018
To the roughly 400 clinical trials that have tested some experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease and come up short, we can now add three more.

Different disease types associated with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains found in Alzheimer's patients

January 9, 2018
An international team of researchers has found different disease type associations with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains in the brains of dead Alzheimer's patients. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National ...

Advances in brain imaging settle debate over spread of key protein in Alzheimer's

January 5, 2018
Recent advances in brain imaging have enabled scientists to show for the first time that a key protein which causes nerve cell death spreads throughout the brain in Alzheimer's disease - and hence that blocking its spread ...

Molecular mechanism behind HIV-associated dementia revealed

January 5, 2018
For the first time, scientists have identified and inhibited a molecular process that can lead to neurodegeneration in patients with HIV, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in Nature Communications.

Mice with frequent flier miles advance the Alzheimer's cause

January 4, 2018
Alzheimer's disease wreaks emotional havoc on patients, who are robbed of their memories, their dignity, and their lives. It's financially devastating as well: care for Alzheimer's patients is predicted to top $1 trillion ...

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.