Three studies are underway at the NYU School of Medicine to find out whether short-term counseling can ease the psychological stress and depression of people with Alzheimers disease and their family members. These studies were inspired by the success of a previous trial at the NYU School of Medicine that showed that even a short period of counseling can have a long-term beneficial impact on the emotional well-being of people taking care of spouses with Alzheimers disease.
Alzheimers disease is a tragedy not only to its victims, but also to their caregivers, says Mary Mittelman, Dr.P.H., Director of the Psychosocial Research and Support Program at the NYU School of Medicines Silberstein Institute. Primary caregivers often experience stress, depression, and other emotional problems as a result of the continuing and demanding levels of care required by people with Alzheimers, the most common form of dementia affecting people over 65.
Dr. Mittelman and her colleagues found that a unique counseling and support program substantially eases the depression of spouse caregivers of Alzheimers patients, and the effects were evident even three years after counseling. Even when spouse caregivers have supportive networks, there can still be communication difficulties within families that require counseling to resolve.
Pamela McDonnell | EurekAlert!
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