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Support Can Ease Stress for Most Dementia Caregivers

Multifaceted interventions improve quality of life for Hispanic and white caregivers

TUESDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanics and whites, but not blacks, who care for relatives with dementia have significant quality-of-life improvements when supported by a multifaceted intervention that includes in-home and telephone discussions, researchers report in the Nov. 21 Annals of Internal Medicine.

Steven H. Belle, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues evaluated caregiver quality of life and clinical depression in a randomized, controlled trial of 212 Hispanic, 219 white and 211 black dementia caregivers. The six-month intervention included dealing with caregiver depression, self-care and social support using in-home and telephone discussions. Controls received two short telephone calls.

In the intervention group, Hispanic and white caregivers, but not blacks, had statistically significant increased quality of life improvement compared to controls. However, black spouse caregivers did report improved quality of life. Clinical depression was lower in the intervention group (12.6 percent) than in controls (22.7 percent).

"A structured multicomponent intervention adapted to individual risk profiles can increase the quality of life of ethnically diverse dementia caregivers," the authors conclude.

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