Coping Strategies Therapy Significantly Improves Mental Health for Dementia Caregivers
London, UK - A brief coping strategies therapy which provides stress relief and emotional support for people caring for relatives with dementia can reduce depression and anxiety and improve well-being at no extra cost to standard care, new research published in The Lancet Psychiatry suggests.
The study led by Gill Livingston, Professor of Psychiatry of Older People at University College London in the UK, found that family caregivers receiving the START (STrAtegies for RelaTives) program were seven times less likely to develop clinically significant depression than those given usual care, with benefits lasting for at least 2 years.
Two-thirds of people with dementia live at home, with their family providing most of their care. There are more than 15 million caregivers in America and around 670,000 in the UK . However, about 40% of family caregivers develop clinical depression or anxiety, which typically leads to care breakdown, and results in individuals with dementia moving to a care home.
Livingston and colleagues randomly assigned 260 family caregivers who were free from depression at the start of the study to either the 8-session START program (173 caregivers) or to usual care consisting of medical, psychological, and social services for the person with dementia (control; 87). START was delivered by non-clinically trained psychology graduates working on a one-to-one basis with family caregivers at their home to identify individual difficulties and implement coping strategies (eg, help with accessing emotional support and relaxation). Continue>
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