Alzheimer’s disease is a significant public health problem that will continue to intensify as our population ages. The most common form of dementia, it is a progressive, degenerative, fatal brain disorder characterized by the loss of cognitive abilities. Changes from AD disrupts an individual’s capacity to think, understand, remember and communicate information. Caring for individuals with AD is physically and emotionally demanding for spouses and adult children, who may also be battling their own health challenges: as much of the caregiver’s time is devoted to the person with AD, they have less time to care for themselves.
Retired persons or individuals who are preparing to retire must plan to address health challenges on fixed incomes. The burden of caring for a loved one with AD can exacerbate caregiver health challenges and strain incomes. This project will examine whether the source of one aspect of caregiver burden, i.e., the inappropriate behaviour of persons with AD, can adversely affect the health-related quality-of-life of retired or near-retired caregivers. The findings will help inform the development of programs or therapies to ameliorate behavioural challenges and improve caregiver health-related quality of life.
Summary of Findings
This fellowship supported work on a literature review and data analysis using data from a related study. A poster presentation that outlined this research proposal was presented to Faculty of Applied Health Science staff and students at the University of Waterloo during the fellowship period. Further results will come in the form of a final thesis and a manuscript that will be submitted to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.