UC Science Today
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UC Science Today is a daily radio feature produced by the University of California and distributed on CBS Radio News and iTunes. From breakthroughs in medicine, agriculture and the environment to insights into the world around us, Science Today covers it all.
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Caregivers of dementia patients need to take care of themselves, too
< 1 day ago
Over 5 million Americans, which is one in 10 people, age 65 and older suffer from dementia. The disease takes its toll not only on patients, but on their caregivers, too.
“Probably the most common thing these days is that the care of patients with dementia largely falls on a spouse or family members. Among caregivers the rates of depression are about 4 times as high as they are among non-caregiving adults at that age group. So it really is a dramatic increase."
That’s psychiatrist Robert Levenson of the University of California, Berkeley. His new study shows that if a family caregiver is stressed or depressed, it contributes to a faster decline of the loved one with dementia.
“If you are being cared for by quite depressed person, you are going to live on average by about 14 months less than if you are being cared for by a person who is not very depressed. This is a significant shortening of life."
By 2030, rates of dementia will rise to 8 million, making this a pressing national public health challenge.