Navigation Links
Helping Alzheimer's patients stay independent
Date:7/18/2012

Family members or professional caregivers who do everything for older adults with Alzheimer's disease may just be wanting to help, but one University of Alberta researcher says that creating excess dependency may rob the patients of their independence and self-worth.

U of A psychologist Tiana Rust, who recently completed her doctoral program, says her research indicated that caregivers adopted a "dependency support script," assuming control of tasks they believed patients seemed no longer capable of doing for themselves. She says this model shows that the caregivers' beliefs, rather than the person's real abilities, drove their interactions with the patients. Her research also showed that the caregivers' actions were also seemingly incongruous with their values of wanting to treat patients with respect and promote their independence.

With an aging Canadian population, the number of people suffering from the disease is expected to increase over the next 20 years, she says. Thus, changing behaviour becomes criticaland she's hoping her U-of-A based research will help spark that change.

"When we create this excess dependency that doesn't need to be there, this is a problem," said Rust. "1.1 million Canadians are projected to have dementia by 2038. So, if we're able to maintain and promote independence to the degree permissible by the disease, that's important."

Help not necessarily wanted

Rust observed several caregivers and Alzheimer's patients in an experimental setting where they were asked to prepare a meal together. What she found was similar to behaviour patterns found in other studies with older adults: caregivers would assume responsibility for tasks that they believed patients were incapable of doing on their own. However, she noted that caregiver actions were not always based on their observations of the patient, but sometimes on their own beliefs.

"The caregivers who believed that people with Alzheimer's disease in general are more likely to be at risk for injury and are more accepting of help were more likely to be dependence supportive than independence supportive," said Rust. "This suggests that caregivers are basing their behaviours partially on their beliefs rather than basing their behaviours on the actual needs and the actual abilities of the people that they're interacting with."

Help them to help themselves

Rust said that in followup interviews, caregivers noted that they placed importance on treating people with Alzheimer's disease with respect and promoting their independence. Yet, she noted that the caregivers' actions did not always follow these goals or desires. She recounted the story of a lady whose husband suffered from Alzheimer's disease. The man attended a day program at a nursing home, where he would take on a number of tasks that his wife had assumed for him at home. Rust said the woman was surprised that he was still able to perform these tasks as he had not done them in months at home. It's an example, she says, of gauging the person's abilities rather than making an assumption about the person's ability based on societal beliefs related to the disease.

"People with Alzheimer's disease have varying abilities, so it's important to base [caregiver] interactions on the actual abilities of the person," she said. "Observing the person and gauging what they're capable of before jumping in and supporting the dependence of the person is definitely important."

Training a critical component for both parties

Rust said that training for caregivers, to provide them with better understanding and proper tools that help them base their interactions with people with Alzheimer's on the actual abilities of the person, could alleviate the potential for unnecessary intervention that would bring about patient dependence. Teaching them to observe and assess the person's actual needs through interaction and observation, rather than what they believe the person needs, is vital in maximizing the person's independence for as long as possible. One way, she says, is to assist the person by breaking up tasks such as preparing a meal into smaller, more manageable tasks that they can accomplish using verbal cues.

"The task we had given the caregivers and the residents to do was set the table, make grilled cheese sandwiches, mix juice and clean up afterwards. All of those tasks are quite big in themselves, but they can all be broken up into small activities," said Rust. "These are all small tasks that these people with Alzheimer's disease were still capable of doing even though they might not have been able to do the full task.

"It's a hard role as a caregiver to try to gauge what the person can do, to know what the patient is capable of, how much they can break up these tasks. But these were all things that the caregivers mentioned in the interviews, so they're definitely wanting to promote the independence of these residents."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jamie Hanlon
jamie.hanlon@ualberta.ca
780-492-9214
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Employment Key to Helping Veterans Adjust to Life Back Home
2. Pivotal role for proteins -- from helping turn carbs into energy to causing devastating disease
3. New targeting technology improves outcomes for patients with atrial fibrillation
4. A stronger doctor-patient relationship for the costliest patients
5. Spouses of severe-sepsis patients at high risk of depression, U-M study shows
6. Doctors and rheumatoid arthritis patients differ on perception of disease activity
7. Unmet needs: Adolescents and young adult cancer patients lack psychological, social support
8. Sodium Buildup in Brain Linked to Disability in MS Patients
9. Physicians dont adequately monitor patients medication adherence
10. Black Patients More Apt to Have Voice Box Removed When Cancer Strikes
11. Patients Skin Cells Yield Research Model for Alzheimers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... pleased to announce that “Natural Language Processing–Enabled and Conventional Data Capture Methods for ... JMIR Medical Informatics . , Results of the comparative usability study demonstrate ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Plainsboro, NJ (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... patients, cancer centers and advocacy groups, has aligned with Upstage Lung Cancer in efforts ... In making the announcement, Michael J. Hennessy, Jr said, “CURE Media Group is honored ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... Premier Fitness Camp ... FIT , the ultimate weight loss and wellness program, at their world headquarters of ... to provide immediate and long-term results to anyone seeking weight loss, personal development, a ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Catalent Pharma ... drugs, biologics and consumer health products, today announced that it had joined the ... as a non-profit organization to unite pharmaceutical and healthcare companies that share a ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... California Senate Bill (SB) ... per workers’ compensation claim in 2013 and 2014, according to CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks ... (WCRI) . , According to the study, medical payments per claim in California decreased ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/9/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... The report also analyses the market by the following Technology Types: Label-Free ... the US, Canada , Japan , ... Latin America , and Rest of World. Annual ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... aTyr Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: LIFE ), a ... to address severe, rare diseases, today announced that senior management will ... Success Healthcare Conference at the InterContinental Barclay Hotel in ... 4:20 p.m. ET. About aTyr Pharma ... aTyr Pharma is engaged ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... , Dec. 9, 2016  Forge Therapeutics, Inc. ... (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) to ... for the treatment of bacterial infections including those ... recognized as an attractive antibacterial target for more ... of suitable chemical starting points has hampered its ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: