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Post-Bereavement Adjustment in Caregivers Examined

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry; ePub 2018 Nov 2; Stahl, et al

Caregiver (CG) relief protects against significant distress and impairment in CGs of both mid- and late-stage dementia patients. This according to a recent study that examined: 1) pre-death factors associated with CG relief; and 2) whether CG relief is associated with post-bereavement adjustment, namely complicated grief and depression symptoms. Participants were bereaved CGs aged 28-90 years, drawn from the Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health study (REACH, n=223) and the Family Caregiver Transition Support study (FaCTS, n=89). Each study administered a similar bereavement battery to CGs following the death of their care recipients (CR). Researchers found:

  • CGs of late-stage dementia patients (FaCTS) reported more relief compared to CGs of early- to mid-stage dementia patients (REACH).
  • CGs were more likely to experience relief if they were prepared for their CRs death and if they perceived their CR's death to be a relief for the CR.
  • A multivariate regression model showed that greater CG relief was associated with less complicated grief post-bereavement.
  • CG relief was not significantly associated with depression symptoms.

Citation:

Stahl ST, Schulz R. Feeling relieved after the death of a family member with dementia: Associations with post-bereavement adjustment. [Published online ahead of print November 2, 2018]. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2018.10.018.