De-Stress: A study to assess the health & wellbeing of spousal carers of people with dementia in Ireland.
What is De-Stress?
De-Stress is the largest study of its kind in Ireland to explore the health and wellbeing of family carers of people with dementia. To carry out the study, researchers at Trinity College Dublin surveyed more than 200 people who were caring for their spouse with dementia.
What did we find?
Nearly half of the carers in the study spent all of their waking time looking after their spouse, and 15% had given up their jobs in order to care for their spouse.
Most of the carers took prescribed medicines. Those who had more chronic health conditions (such as arthritis, hypertension or diabetes) were more likely to have high burden and lower quality of life.
Depression and anxiety were common among family carers, and around a third of participants had difficulty with at least one core caring activity, such as managing money, shopping for or preparing food or managing appointments.
Carers experience a decline in cognitive functions (such as attention and ability to plan) over a one-year period, but this was not linked to their stress levels or a genetic susceptibility to developing Alzheimer Disease.
What does the De-Stress study tell us?
The De-Stress report suggests that the needs of family carers in Ireland should be more thoroughly assessed and addressed as a matter of urgency. The study was supported by the Health Research Board, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Medical Research Charities Group.