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Caring for spouse with dementia 'increases development risk'

Caring for spouse with dementia 'increases development risk'
5th May 2010

The spouses of people living with dementia are more likely to develop the disease than those whose partners do not have the condition, a new study claims.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, older people who provide care for spouses with dementia are six times more likely to go on and develop their own symptoms.

Researchers at Utah State University drew theses conclusions following the observation of 2,442 older people over a 12 year period.

The research now needs to go further and look at whether this association is caused by a shared environment or through stress created by becoming a caregiver for a spouse with dementia, according to the study's lead author Dr Maria Norton.

"Given the significant public health concern of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and the upcoming shift in population age composition, continued research into the causes of dementia is urgent," Dr Norton concluded.

According to the Alzheimer's Research Trust, there are currently around 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes