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Links Between Care of Dementia Patients and Depression of Caregivers

The Journal of Women’s Health recently published the results of a study focusing on the risk of depression in the caregivers of dementia patients. More specifically, the study, on which international researchers collaborated, compared the risk of depression when the caregiver is the patient’s daughter as opposed to the patient’s daughter-in-law. Researchers found that there was little research on daughters-in-law experiencing stress in caring for dementia patients, which is of some importance, since many daughters-in-law in Asian society traditionally take on caregiving responsibilities for their in-laws.

The study involved a group of 95 daughters and daughters-in-law who were caring for dementia patients. Researchers looked at not only the symptoms of depression in the caregivers, but in the behavior of the patients, including cognitive abilities, daily activities, and global dementia ratings. In both groups of caregivers, the study found that a caregiver’s depression increased as the severity and frequency of the patient’s behavior increased. However, one group of caregivers generally suffered more from depression than the other based on the relationship of the caregiver to the patient. As one might assume, the depression among daughter caregivers was marginally greater than among daughter-in-law caregivers of dementia patients. Researchers linked the increased depression in daughters to their emotions resulting from their family relationship with their parents. Based on the study, the researchers concluded that the family relationship between patients and caregivers should be considered in managing caregivers’ stress and depression.

All too often, caregivers of dementia patients and other chronically ill patients suffer from depression, overwork, and extreme stress. These conditions can very easily lead to incidences of abuse and neglect. At Boller & Vaughan, we focus on protecting the rights of those who have suffered neglectful or abusive actions at the hands of caregivers, whether they are relatives, home health aides, or nursing home employees. We have the skills and knowledge to delve into the facts of your case, consider all available options, and advocate on your behalf by bringing any legal claims that you may have. Call your Wisconsin elder neglect attorneys at (608) 268-0268 and schedule your free consultation today.