During National Family Caregiver Month, CWRU Researchers Study Stress Management In Dementia Caregivers

For over a decade, Dr. Jaclene Zauszniewski, an internationally recognized nurse-scientist and Distinguished Faculty Researcher Award recipient of Case Western Reserve University, and her research team, have learned from caregivers and for caregivers. Her research has one common goal: helping family caregivers to better manage stress and stay healthy.    

Our current project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is focused on adult family caregivers of persons experiencing a progressive memory problem or dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease.  

“Given the lengthy downward progression of dementia, caregivers are faced with a long-term commitment to providing care during which they experience seeing a family member transition from independence and self-sufficiency to complete dependency on others in order to have their basic needs met,” Dr. Zauszniewski says.

In dementia care, she describes three discernable milestones, which may or may not happen for all caregivers.  “These milestones are points of transition during which the stress level of dementia caregivers may peak,” she said. “These include becoming a caregiver for a person with dementia in the home, becoming a care partner with a care facility when unable to care for the person in the home, and becoming a caretaker when the care recipient dies.”

Currently, our study is enrolling those who have moved their family member into a care facility, as well as those whose family member died in the past 12 months.  

Study participants will learn a stress management method that may help to minimize stress and promote health, and also complete 3 data collection sessions over one year. They will be compensated for their time. Most study activities can be completed remotely. For in-person activities, research assistants will meet participants at a location convenient to them. Participants do not have to travel to the university.

In recognition of National Family Caregiver Month in November, the research team, including Parma resident Catherine Larsen, hopes to continue to bring awareness to their work. To learn more, please contact us at 216-368-8848 or caregiver@case.edu, or find us on Facebook at “Dementia Caregiver Studies at Case Western Reserve University”.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 8:51 AM, 11.01.2022