Caregivers of partners with dementia are at increased risk of dementia themselves

by Kell

Research conducted by Johns Hopkins and Utah State suggest that stress can put the caregiver of a partner with dementia at risk themselves..

The stress of taking care of a partner with dementia can be overwhelming.

This new stress research shows that it can wreak havoc on the health of the caregiver.

In their study, spouses who cared for a partner with dementia had a sixfold increase in the risk of developing the disease, researchers found in a 12-year study.

Researchers sought to identify risk factors for developing dementia with a group of 2,442 married couples 65 and older in Cache County, Utah. In addition to genetics and medical concerns, researchers looked at the role of stress, from early-life issues and late-life pressures to being a caregiver, as possible triggers for the disease.

At the end of the study, they found 225 people with dementia – 30 cases where both husbands and wives had developed the condition. While the majority of caregivers didn't end up with dementia, the increased risk for spouses surprised researchers.

I write more about caregiver stress and strategies you can use to reduce caregiver stress.

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