Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Earlier this week, I wrote about caregiver risk in home settings. By coincidence, a recent issue of GSA's Journals of Gerontology, includes "Predictors of Dementia Caregiver Depressive Symptoms in a Population: The Cache County Dementia Progression Study," by Kathleen W. Piercy and others.
By focusing on factors that correlate with depression in caregivers, the article would also seem to be identifying potential risks factors for caregivers to neglect or otherwise be unable to provide proper care for individuals with dementia.
The article opens with a straight-forward (and useful) history of literature on caregiver depression. The team's research, drawn from a longitudinal study of individuals with dementia plus 256 of their caregivers, was somewhat reassuring in that depression rates were lower than might be predicted from "clinic-based studies." Nonetheless, their research pointed to the importance of support networks for caregivers, and the potential impact of "emotion-focused coping styles, poorer health, low quality of life," and whether the individuals were caring for persons with high behavioral problems, as factors correlating with depression in caregivers. The authors are careful to identify the limitations of their study, including caution about inferring causation.