Home Medizin Die gegenseitige Betreuung bei Alzheimer-Paaren steigert das gegenseitige Wohlbefinden

Die gegenseitige Betreuung bei Alzheimer-Paaren steigert das gegenseitige Wohlbefinden

von NFI Redaktion

When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, it is common for the spouse to take on the role of caregiver. Research from the University of California, Davis suggests that patients can also support their caregivers, and that mutual care can bring mutual benefits.

A new article published in the journal Aging and Mental Health emphasizes that couples dealing with dementia can better navigate the challenges with greater resilience and well-being by working together and supporting each other.

„We know that dementia is degenerative, there is no turning back, and caregivers are usually under significant strain. However, a mutually beneficial relationship in the early stages can help alleviate caregiver burden and even slow down the progression of dementia symptoms.“

Meng Huo, Assistant Professor at the Institute for Human Ecology and lead author of the study

In the United States, nearly 7 million people aged 65 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, researchers surveyed 72 couples from Northern California and Nevada, where one person was living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and their spouse was the primary caregiver. They assessed the support that spouses provided to each other and found that people with dementia often supported their spousal caregivers.

„It is crucial to debunk the myth that dementia patients are just care recipients,“ said Huo. „Recognizing their potential for assistance will empower them to maintain their personal dignity. Dementia patients know they are not well, but it is important for them to also know that they can still contribute a lot.“

Practical and Emotional Support

Huo stated that the positive effects of empathy and support on emotional well-being, stress levels, communication, and disease management can contribute to better overall health outcomes for people with dementia and their caregivers.

The researchers found that patient support was provided in various ways, such as practical help like folding laundry, washing dishes, and cooking. Huo said the most common type of support was emotional, including recognition and care.

„In one example, the caregiver underwent surgery and the dementia patient talked about how she brought flowers and food when visiting the caregiver in the hospital, and she encouraged the caregiver to stay socially connected to ensure there is companionship,“ said Huo.

Caregiver, Patient Empathy

The researchers hope that the findings can enhance existing interventions that mainly target caregivers by also involving dementia patients.

„Caregivers of dementia patients need support,“ said Huo. „Support can occur in this ongoing relationship between dementia patients and caregivers. By maintaining the reciprocity of support, we may potentially promote effective disease management in the long term.“

This study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Other authors listed in this article are from Seoul National University in South Korea, the University of Texas in Austin, and Pennsylvania State University.


University of California – Davis

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