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Novel program enhances dementia caregivers' quality of life

earch is a priority for NINR and NIA."

The REACH II study included 642 individuals, more than 200 each of Hispanic, white and African American caregivers of persons with dementia. The caregivers within each ethnic/racial group were randomly assigned to either an intervention or a control group.

Trained project staff visited the caregivers in the intervention group at home nine times, talked with them during three half-hour telephone calls, and offered five structured telephone support sessions. The strategies included information sharing, instruction, role playing, problem solving, skills training, stress-management techniques and telephone support groups. Those in the control group received a packet of dementia education materials and two brief "check-in" telephone calls. Spanish-language services and materials were offered to the Spanish-speaking caregivers in Miami, Palo Alto and Philadelphia.

Before the services began and six months later, researchers assessed caregivers' quality of life overall and in five specific quality of life areas: depressive symptoms, the burden of caregiving (such as the level of stress), engagement in self-care activities (such as getting rest or seeing a doctor when needed), level of social support, and problem behaviors exhibited by the person with dementia. The investigators also measured the prevalence of clinical depression among the caregivers and collected data on whether the care recipients had been placed in institutions during the six-month study period.

After six months, improvements in the caregivers' overall quality of life were significant among the Hispanic and white caregivers who took part in the intervention and, while significant among African American spouse caregivers, were less so among non-spouse African American caregivers. Large and clinically important quality of life improvements were found for 45 percent of Hispanic caregivers, 40 percent of white caregivers and 28 pe
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Contact: Susan Farrer
nianews3@mail.nih.gov
301-496-1752
NIH/National Institute on Aging
20-Nov-2006


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