Study: Range of emotions engulfs caregiver of loved one with dementia

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The emotions of a family member caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or dementia range from resentment to protectiveness, according to a new study funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Many families are hesitant to seek help until a crisis arises and forces the family to seek the necessary services, said Kathryn Betts Adams, assistant professor of social work in the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Families sometimes wait up to two years before asking for outside help, the study found.

Family members reported experiencing frustration, resentment, grief and loss of intimacy. But they also felt more protective and tender towards the person experiencing the dementia, numerous interviews revealed. The study report appears in the November issue of the Journal of Gerontological Social Work.