Mental Health and Morbidity of Caregivers and Co-Residents of individuals with Dementia: A Quasi-Experimental Design.

The Northern Ireland Mortality Study (NIMS) is a prospective study, which is unique in that it links Census returns with deaths that are subsequently registered. For this study by Maguire et al. (2016), data from the 2011 Census were linked with subsequent deaths records from the General Register’s Office which were followed up for 33 months. Using the Census 2011 returns, 19,863 people were identified as having ‘dementia symptoms’, used in this study as a proxy for cognitive decline. People who co-resided with a person with dementia symptoms and who either self-identified as a caregiver or non-caregiver were enumerated. The caregivers were better educated, living in more affluent households, and had better physical and mental health than non-caregivers. Caregivers providing intense levels of care were older and more likely to be women. The study found that caregiving co-residents were at no greater risk of poor mental health than non-caregiving co-residents. The analysis revealed that caregiving co-residents were 33% less likely to die during the study period than non-caring co-residents and this percentage was greater for caregivers providing intense levels of care, suggesting, in keeping with some other studies, a significant mortality advantage associated with caregiving. The findings of this study highlight the important of assessing both the risks and benefits of caring for a relative with dementia.
Title: 
Mental Health and Morbidity of Caregivers and Co-Residents of individuals with Dementia: A Quasi-Experimental Design.
Date: 
2016
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References: 
Maguire, A., Rosato, M. and O’Reilly, D. (2016) ‘Mental Health and Morbidity of Caregivers and Co-Residents of individuals with Dementia: A Quasi-Experimental Design’, International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 32(10): 1104-1113