Can social services help depressed caregivers? by UC Science Today

Taking care of a loved one suffering from dementia is not an easy job. In fact, family members who look after sick relatives, often suffer from depression and could use some caregiving, too. That’s according to Robert Levenson, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Part of it is just an understanding that this is really important, really prevalent and preventable in a way. We don’t know how to cure dementia, but I think we can probably keep caregivers a lot more healthy.”

Levenson’s recent study shows that depression of family caregivers may contribute to dementia patients’ earlier death. He suggests this is where social services can step in and help caregivers.

“We are talking about providing some health with making meals, letting caregivers have a few hours to get out of the house and maybe get some exercise. Some of these solutions to these problems are low-tech, not high-tech, low-cost, not high-cost.”

Dementia is a growing public health problem. Five million Americans have the disease and this number is expected to reach 8 million in just 15 years.