Families’ anxiety increases when a relative with dementia enters a facility

Families’ anxiety increases when a relative with dementia enters a facility

Douglas J. Edwards

A study published in the August 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association highlights the stress family caregivers experience when they place a loved one with dementia in a long-term care facility. As reported by HealthDayNews, these family caregivers experience significant anxiety and depression upon institutionalization of a relative with dementia; their use of tranquilizers for anxiety increases, and nearly half of the caregivers in the study were at risk for developing clinical depression. Moreover, family caregivers experienced more stress when they had more contact with the person in the facility. The study’s lead author told HealthDayNews that direct interventions with caregivers might help prepare them for their relative’s transition, and family members might benefit from efforts to treat their depression and anxiety.

“Caregivers find great benefit–including stress reduction and feeling more in control–by gathering information, counsel, and resources throughout the disease process, whether care is provided at home or in a residential facility. Getting this education and support is often the most important step they can take,” Sheldon Goldberg, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association and a Nursing Homes Editorial Advisory Board member, told Nursing Homes magazine. “We recommend that long-term care staff connect family members with their local Alzheimer’s Association chapter.” Staff can find local chapters by visiting www.alz.org or by calling (800) 272-3900.

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