Adult-children of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients experience a higher level of caregiver strain in Malaysia

The role of caregivers is a central and integral part of the management of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. Although care-giving may bring personal gains and satisfaction, caregivers most often provide these services to the society and their family members at substantial personal cost, including emotional and social burden. Research indicated that caregivers with low resilience may require more assistance managing. In this cross sectional study, strains levels and resilience levels of the AD caregivers were assessed and correlated with various patients and caregivers’ factors. 230 participants were recruited through Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM). The findings of this study revealed that adult-children of Alzheimer’s patients carried out the main care-giving role, and they experienced significant level of caregiver strain.  Hence, the female caregivers scored higher in strain index compared to the male caregivers. In contrast, male caregivers reported a significantly higher level of resilience. Being a male caregiver has been reported to be positively related to higher caregiver resilience by Joling et al (2016). Research demonstrated that women caregivers mainly adopt emotion-focused strategies and this style is related to a higher level of distress, whereas, male caregivers mainly adopt task-oriented strategies, which is associated with lower distress (Iavarone, Ziello, Pastore, Fasanaro & Poderico, 2014). Moreover, the cultural expectation associated with family duties to believe care for elderly should be provided by women may impose extra burden on them (Meyer, 2017). This research showed that the number of years of care provided by caregivers is significantly associated with the strain score; as the number of care-giving years increases, the caregivers experience a higher level of stains. These risk factors can help identify those caregivers at highest risks of strain and serve as a platform to test interventions to help alleviate this strain. The significant negative correlation between resilience level and caregiver strain further highlighted the importance of interventions for increasing resilience in Alzheimer’s disease caregivers. For substantiation of the current findings, future studies addressing the appropriateness of interventions to improve the family caregivers’ resilience level, and supports for Alzheimer’s disease patients to empower them in performing their daily tasks that can reduce the imposed burden on caregivers are required.

This paper has been publish in Geriatric Nursing journal:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30765175

 

Can Group Activities Benefit Dementia Patients?

New research shows that participating in certain group activities can significantly improve overall mood, engagement and participation in dementia patients. Common nursing home activities were used in this study in which most, if not all, are easily replicated to be conducted. It is important to note that findings from this study indicate varying levels of success for different activities, and that results may be affected by the individual’s own cognitive abilities.

Listed below are some group activities you may introduce to your dementia patient and in contrast, some group activities to most definitely stay away from!

DO

1. Games, choral groups, holiday discussions – such activities result in significantly greater levels of engagement, active participation, positive attitude and positive mood.

2. Exercise groups – this activity has shown to specifically increase active participation.

3. Brain games – both mentally stimulating and fun, brain games have been found to improve the overall mood of the patient.

4. Baking – this activity may be a little tricky to conduct in large groups or if there is no kitchen available, but if given the opportunity, do try out baking as it is known to increase active participation and a positive mood.

DON’T

Stay away from activities such as poetry and storytelling as research shows a drop in attitude, positive mood and active participation.

In general, group activities seem to have a positive effect on participation, engagement and mood of dementia patients. With these improvements, the quality of life of these individuals will get better, ultimately preventing behavioural problems from a non pharmacological perspective.

Link:

Weaver, K., Melkus, G., & Henderson, W. (2017). Irritable Bowel Syndrome. AJN, American Journal Of Nursing, 117(6), 48-55. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.naj.0000520253.57459.01

[MORE] Alcohol and Alzheimer’s

Several studies have emerged over the past year noting the sinister effects of alcohol on cognitive function. In the previous article, research from a French study revealed alcohol abuse as a prominent contributor towards dementia, with heavy emphasis on early onset Alzheimer’s specifically. But why does this happen?

A study conducted on 360 patients from New York, Boston, Baltimore and Paris discovered that the type and amount of alcohol consumed played an integral role in impacting the rate of cognitive decline. The study found that heavy drinkers, those who consumed more than eight alcoholic beverages per week were at a greater risk of a speedier decline in cognitive function as compared to moderate drinkers who consumed one to seven alcoholic beverages per week. Results of this study also indicated that increased consumption of hard liquor presented a more prominent decline, however this was not the case with beer and wine. 

In summary, heavy alcohol consumption accelerates the rate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients, indicating a strong likelihood that it precipitates the progression of the disease, thus leading to early onset Alzheimer’s.

Links

Alcohol Use Disorder a Major Risk Factor for Dementia

A new study conducted in France analyzed the nationwide data for admitted patients in hospitals between 2008 and 2013 found that alcohol use disorders were significantly associated with dementia.

The study supports that alcohol use disorder be recognized as a major risk factor for all types of dementia, especially for early-onset dementia. The analysis also showed that the risks are remain unchanged even after abstinence from drinking, citing that lifelong damage had already been inflicted on the brain.

In their closing, the researchers recommended that the risk of alcohol use disorder should be recognized, and that appropriate action such as early detection and intervention should be taken to reduce heavy drinking, and delay or prevent the onset of dementia.

Links:

New Study Connects Exercise to Brain Health, Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease

The physical health advantages of frequent exercise are seemingly endless: weight loss, decreased the risk of heart disease and diabetes, lower blood pressure, and a decreased risk of depression, to name a few. Less understood is the connection between physical exercise and brain health. A recent study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience by researchers at McMaster University have identified an exciting connection between body and mind, specifically as memory is concerned. The study suggests that interval training can help improve memory and decrease the risk of falling victim to the devastating neurological effects of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s as you age.

Links:

 

 

Researchers Discover Intriguing Link Between Magnesium And Dementia

The levels of magnesium in your blood may be linked to your risk of developing dementia later in life, a new study from the Netherlands finds. Compared with people in the study who had high or low levels of the mineral in their blood, those with levels in the middle range were less likely to develop dementia, according to the study, which was published online today (Sept. 20) in the journal Neurology.

Links: