De-Stress: A Study to Assess the Health and Well-being of Spousal Carers of People with Dementia in Ireland

The De-Stress study, co-funded by the Health Research Fund and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, was undertaken to gather information about the health and wellbeing of spouses caring for people with dementia in Ireland. The study included 205 spousal carers who completed a questionnaire, answered a health screening survey and underwent a cognitive assessment at baseline and follow-up about a year later. Saliva samples were also collected. Most of the spousal carers were women, three-quarters were over 65 years of age and a quarter over 75 years. Most had two or more health conditions, were on medication and had visited a health care professional in the previous month. The majority reported that they provided 81-100% of the care for their spouse with dementia and nearly half reported spending all their waking time looking after their spouse. The average length of time spent caring for a spouse was five years, but caregiving could last much longer, up to 19 years. While the study found that caring for a spouse with dementia can be rewarding, it classed 13.4% of spousal carers as having a moderate to severe level of psychological distress. There were differences between carers with male and older spousal carers reporting less depression and anxiety than female and younger carers. While the study was interested in investigating if there was any link between cognitive function of spousal carers of people with dementia and chronic stress, no significant associations was found. The study highlights the need for adequate supports for spousal carers.
Title: 
De-Stress: A Study to Assess the Health and Well-being of Spousal Carers of People with Dementia in Ireland
Date: 
2017
Book Area: 
References: 
Brennan, S., Lawlor, B., Pertl, M., O’Sullivan, M., Begley, E. and O’Connell, C. (2017) De-Stress: A Study to Assess the Health & Wellbeing of Spousal Carers of People with Dementia in Ireland, Dublin: The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.