Medical comorbidities of dementia: Links to caregivers' emotional difficulties and gains

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Nov 28, 2019

Polenick CA, et al. - By analyzing community-dwelling persons living with dementia (PLWDs) and their co-resident family caregivers in the United States, researchers examined the link between 8 major medical comorbidities of dementia (arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, lung disease, osteoporosis, and stroke) and caregivers' views of emotional caregiving difficulties and caregiving gains (ie, benefits or rewards from the care role). The probability of caregivers reporting higher than median emotional caregiving difficulties was 2.63 and 2.32 times more in the presence of diagnoses of diabetes and osteoporosis in PLWDs, respectively, as revealed on logistic regressions, controlling for caregiver gender, link with the PLWD (spouse vs non-spouse), educational achievement, self-rated health, and help with activities of daily living and medical care activities. The likelihood of caregivers reporting lower than median caregiving gains was 2.10 times more when PLWDs had a diagnosis of osteoporosis. Findings revealed distinct implications of comorbid health conditions among PLWDs as far as caregiving outcomes were concerned. Experts recommended that caregivers be supported in managing medical comorbidities of dementia by clinical care and interventions to improve the well-being of both care dyad members.
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