Posted by: Bert Copple | August 18, 2010

Study finds diverse grieving among Alzheimer’s caregivers

New research revealing racial and ethnic differences in the emotional attitudes of caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients could lead to improvements in support services.

University of Michigan research found significant variations in the emotional reactions of blacks, whites and Hispanics to both caring for and grieving for Alzheimer’s patients, according to a Science Daily article.

“For those caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s, the process of bereavement often begins long before the family member’s physical death,” said James McNally. “These results bring into sharper focus some distinct social and cultural responses to the bereavement process, and help increase our understanding of the emotional costs of Alzheimer’s. This understanding can help to inform and improve culturally competent resources to help caregivers not only throughout all stages of their loved one’s illness, but also in finding a healthy resolution to grieving.”

Researchers examined data from the Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health project. More than 600 caregivers in three racial/ethnic groups were part of the Bereavement Component.

Among the findings:
• Whites and Hispanics are three to five times more likely than blacks to report a sense of emotional relief at the death of an Alzheimer’s sufferer.
• Whites are twice as likely to report emotional acceptance at the death as blacks and Hispanics.
• Hispanic caregivers were only half as likely as blacks to report feelings of anger toward the deceased.
• White caregivers were considerably more likely to report anger than the other two groups.

McNally said Hispanics’ lack of anger and difficulty accepting the loss of a loved one points to the tight support network often found in Hispanic families.

Alzheimer’s Disease can take a terrible toll on a caregiver, and especially an entire family.  Home Instead Senior Care takes great pride in the unbeatable ability and caring that our CAREGivers provide, and it doesn’t stop there; we want them to receive the support and caring that they deserve as well in such a tough profession.  Home Instead’s program Running On Empty is an excellent resource in finding ways to handle the stress and grief that comes with being a caregiver.

Home Instead Senior Care will provide outstanding caregivers to help your loved one with personal care, incidental travel, companionship, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and even meal preparation. To learn more, call 248-203-2273 or visit Home Instead Senior Care is the world’s trusted source of in-home non-commercial personal care and companionship for seniors. Each franchise is independently owned and operated. And remember, to us, it’s personal.


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