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Your Mental Health Affects Your Elderly Patient's Life Span
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Do you know that your mental health as a caregiver has a great impact on the life span of your patients with dementia?

 

According to the recent UC Berkeley study, those patients with dementia may die sooner if their caregiver is with anxiety disorder or mentally stressed.

 

With thorough research on dementia patient’s mortality rate, UC Berkeley were able to track 170 patients with brain degenerative diseases. These includes people with dementia and alzheimer’s disease. At the same time, researches also focused on the mental health of the caregivers who are taking care of them.

 

Their conclusion? Patients under the care of people with anxiety, depression, and other symptoms of mental illness died sooner that those who are being taking cared after by caregivers with good mental condition.

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170+ caregivers and patients were examined at Levenson’s Berkeley Psychological Laboratory. Caregivers were asked to disclose their own health, emotional and social well being. The patients were likewise assessed through follow-up and updates through the Memory and Aging Center at the UC, San Francisco.

 

“Our finding of the strong relationship between patient survival and caregiver mental health underscores the profound intertwining of the lives and well-being of caregivers and patients as they engage in one of life’s most challenging and intimate relationships,” said study senior author Robert Levenson, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley.

 

“It highlights the mutual influence both parties’ mental and physical states have on one another, and the extraordinarily high stakes that are involved,” Levenson said.

 

“These findings make a compelling case that helping preserve the mental health of caregivers may also help the patients in their care,” said study co-lead author Brett Ford, an assistant psychology professor at the University of Toronto who worked on the study as a Ph.D. student in psychology at Berkeley.

 

The study would also like to emphasize that poor mental health in carers can affect the life of the patient due to some factors. The work of a caregiver may sometimes be rewarding but the prolonged stress can affect the caregiver’s mental and emotional aspect. This may reduce the quality of patient care and raise the risk of neglect of one’s responsibility or worse, physical abuse.

 

It is important that the caregiver will have enough time to take a break from work and will receive enough compensation for their hard work. It also very important to give them enough rest period to sleep, eat and take care of themselves. Being a caregiver is not an easy job. It’s difficult to take care of the elderly and trying to keep your sanity at the same time.

 

Source: Berkeley News

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