Researchers Strive to Help Caregivers of Dementia Patients Through Grant
MIAMI, March 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) today announced a $49,993 grant to the Center on Aging-University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The funding will be used to examine a computer-integrated system for family caregivers of dementia patients.
Currently, about 9 million adults in the nation provide care to someone suffering from dementia who is 50 years or older. Caring for an individual with dementia is often a very stressful experience for the responsible loved ones and is known to contribute to psychiatric and physical morbidities.
"We're working hard to develop innovative programs to help family members care for their relatives with Alzheimer's disease," said Sara Czaja, Ph.D., co-director of the Center on Aging. "The trend now is to keep patients in their homes instead of sending them to long-term care facilities."
The burden of informal care-giving for family members will grow in the coming years because the number of individuals with dementia is expected to increases to as many as 16 million by 2050.
"With the coming of age of the baby boomers, innovative uses of technology to lessen the strain on caregivers will increasingly become more critical in the care of loved ones," said Marshall Criser III, president of AT&T Florida. "AT&T's support of Dr. Czaja's study will help identify meaningful tools to improve the quality of life for caregivers and provide a positive result to the people in their care."
The intervention method is being delivered through a video telephone
system and Internet hookup designed to:
-- Provide caregivers with access to information about dementia,
care-giving and community resources.
-- Enhance knowledge and care-giving skills.
-- Enhance social support.
-- Reduce barriers between caregivers and health care professionals.
The study will take place throughout a five-month period and will include six individual skill-building sessions, five support group sessions and five educational broadcast lectures by the university. Diversity is a key element to the study; participants will include 162 African-American, Hispanic and Haitian family caregivers of dementia patients.
Researchers expect that the caregivers who receive the intervention will experience a reduction in depressive symptoms and the burdens they feel, as well as benefit from an enhanced quality of life. Furthermore, they will have greater knowledge of the available community resources and advanced social support systems, as well as engage in more self-care activities. The computer-based system will help caregivers link to other family members, such as children who live in distant locations. If proved successful, the intervention program could be implemented in communities throughout the United States.
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|SOURCE AT&T Inc.|
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