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Biggest burden for Alzheimer's caregivers who are mildly depressed

Family and friends will find that offering care to a loved one with Alzheimer's is particularly burdensome if they themselves are depressed.

Nurses should therefore be aware of the mental health of the family/caregiver of an Alzheimer's patient at the time of diagnosis, to recognise who needs extra support, the study suggested.

The results indicate that family caregivers who suffered from depressive symptoms at the time of diagnosis had the most psychological stress.

Researcher Tarja Välimäki of the Department of Nursing Science from the University of Eastern Finland, said: "The occurrence of even mild depressive symptoms predicted a psychological load on the family caregiver irrespective of, for example, the progression of the disease.”

The study analysed the psychological stress of family caregivers during a three-year period following the Alzheimer's diagnosis.