This week an article appeared in the Globe and Mail citing research that indicated that people who care for spouses with dementia are, on average, six times more likely to develop the condition than those who don’t have an affected partner.
This study is no surprise to those of us involved in the care of people with dementia. It is stressful and difficult work, made even more so when the emotional context of a life partner being affected is added.
Dementia caregiving is associated with depression, physical health problems and mortality.
One way of decreasing stress for spousal caregivers is to provide caregiver relief in the form of a professional caregiver. The caregiver, can assist with physical care activities such as bathing, dressing,transferring, toileting and exercises.
The supportive spouse can take the time to socialize with friends, attend a class, exercise or even catch up on some much needed sleep. The supportive spouse will return to their caregiving role refreshed, de-stressed and hopefully less at risk to develop dementia themselves.
At Eldercare Home Health, many of our caregivers have taken the certification program from the Alzheimer Society. It prepares caregivers to work successfully with dementia Clients. Having a professional, reliable caregiver available to offset some of the stress of spousal caregiving, keeps both partners in the marriage as happy, healthy and independent as possible.