Activities enjoyed by patients with dementia together with their spouses and psychological morbidity in carers
Aging and Mental Health
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Caring for a spouse with dementia is stressful and respite care is sometimes used to reduce this burden. Spouses may find some aspects of caring rewarding but the literature on positive aspects of caring is limited. To describe activities enjoyed by patients with dementia together with their spouses, and examine their relationship with psychological morbidity in carers. A convenience sample of 46 patients with mild to moderate dementia (91% with Alzheimer's disease, AD) and their spouses were interviewed at home. Spouses completed the Pleasant Events Schedule (PES-AD) to identify activities enjoyed by patients and spouses on their own and together. Psychological morbidity in spouses was assessed using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Cognitive functions, and non-cognitive symptoms were also assessed in patients. Multiple regression analysis using age, Mini-Mental State Examination, Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia, Revised Memory and Behaviour Problems (RMBP) checklist frequency, and PES-AD- together scores as independent variables found PES-AD-together and RMBP-frequency to be independent predictors of GHQ-12 scores in spouses, but the model could explain only 28% of variance. Facilitating activities that are enjoyed by both patients with dementia and spouses may be an alternative intervention strategy to reduce carer burden. © 2008 Taylor & Francis.