Well-being of carers can impact on ability of people with dementia to ‘live well’

A carer’s experience can impact on the ability of a person with dementia to “live well” with the condition, new research suggests.

If carers feel highly stressed, lack confidence in their ability to provide care and experience social restrictions, the people they care for rate their quality of life, well-being and satisfaction with life less positively.

Using data from 1,283 people with dementia and their carers, the research team sought to find out whether carers’ experiences of caring were related to the way in which people with dementia evaluated their own quality of life, well-being and satisfaction with life.

The research was conducted as part of the Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (Ideal) programme, which is led by Professor Linda Clare at the University of Exeter.

The programme is the largest study of people living with dementia and their family members or friends in the UK.

“Family carers in the UK provide 1.34 billion hours of unpaid care for people with dementia each year, yet practical support for care at home is often limited or lacking,” she said.

“This study emphasises just how important it is to support family carers.

“A relatively small investment in supporting a family carer benefits both the carer and the person with dementia, and can help to prevent institutionalisation and sustain care at home.”

Study lead Dr Catherine Quinn, from the University of Bradford, said: “This research shows what a carer is experiencing is important, not just for his or her own well-being but also for the well-being of the person living with dementia.

“This helps us to understand what kind of support may be most helpful for family carers.

“It is vital that carers are supported both emotionally and practically to reduce stress levels, feelings of social restrictions, and increase feelings of competence in their ability to provide care.

“This will both benefit carers and improve the potential for people with dementia to ‘live well’.”

– The study is published in the journal Aging and Mental Health.

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