Troubled Helpers May Set Back Dementia Patients

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Dementia can bring on serious behavioral problems, like wandering and combativeness. Now a new study suggests that the symptoms may be worsened by the personal characteristics of people caring for patients.

Researchers have found that when those providing care are less educated, depressed or more burdened, their patients exhibit more behavioral problems. Patients who had younger caregivers also experienced more problems.

The study, led by Dr. Kaycee M. Sink of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, appears in the current Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Researchers surveyed more than 5,700 people with dementia and the people providing care for them “” mostly family members, but also hired aides “” in eight cities. The interviewers were sent to the homes to assess the patients and the people providing the care.

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