Caring for Loved One with Alzheimer's May Be Most Stressful for Spouse
Reuters Health
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October 4, 2015

Patients with Alzheimer's and dementia sit inside the Alzheimer foundation in Mexico City. (Reuters/Edgard Garrido)

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease isn’t easy under the best of circumstances, but it may be much more stressful for spouses and people who suffer from depression, a Finnish study suggests.

Researchers followed 236 family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients for three years after the diagnosis. Caregiving appeared to be much more stressful for people who were married to the patients or who suffered from depression when the study began.

“Even minor depressive symptoms at the beginning of caregiving are a significant predictor of psychological distress during the years of caregiving,” lead study author Tarja Valimaki of the University of Eastern Finland said by email.

The findings suggest that spousal caregivers should receive mental health evaluations at the time that their loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Valimaki added.

“Alzheimer’s disease patients’ home care is reliant on caregivers, and it is not reasonable for spousal caregivers to put their own health at risk due to the caregiving,” Valimaki said.

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults and a leading cause of death among the elderly.

Read the rest at Medical Daily

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