Mon, 13 Jan 2014

De-Stress is a new three year study that will provide, for the first time in Ireland, information on the factors that affect the health of spousal dementia carers.

In Ireland much of dementia care is provided by people who are frequently spouses. In fact there are an estimated 50,000 carers of the 48,000 people with dementia in Ireland today and with 63% of people with dementia living in the community this care is crucial and vital. 
Associated with better quality of life and positive health outcomes for the person with dementia, it can of course be challenging for the person providing the care. It is therefore extremely important that the impact of this work on the carer is considered and that the health and wellbeing of carers is understood and protected.
What’s the aim of De-Stress?
The aim of the De-Stress study is to gain an insight into the health and wellbeing of Irish spousal dementia carers and to examine what factors are associated with both positive and negative health outcomes for carers. 
The research findings will inform the ASI’s work in supporting carers of people with dementia and can also inform policy, future research and the development of targeted interventions to improve carers’ health. 
Who can take part? 
People over the age of 50 who are currently providing care to their spouse or partner with dementia at home can take part in this study.
What does participation involve?
Taking part in the study will involve doing one baseline assessment at the beginning of the study and an optional follow up 12 months later. No travel is necessary. We can visit your home or meet in a local centre at your convenience. Taking part in the study will involve:
•       Answering questions about your role as a caregiver; your life style, your psychological and physical wellbeing.
•       Completing tasks that measure various aspects of mental function e.g. memory and attention.
•       Providing saliva samples to assess levels of the stress hormone cortisol. However, if you prefer not to provide saliva samples you can still participate in the other aspects of the study.
The ASI is co-funding the De-Stress project along with the Health Research Board. It is being carried out by researchers in NEIL (NeuroEnhacement for Independent Lives) programme in the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience.
Experiences of people who have already taken part
"I found the experience of taking part pleasant, enjoyable and challenging at times. But there was always guidance and everything was clear" (Research participant)
"The experience was exciting and it made me happy to be involved in this research work. The lady that carried out the tests made me feel so at ease as she herself was so professional in her work. All I can say again is thank you for including me". (Research participant)
Who do I contact?
If you are interested in finding out more about this study, or if you are interested in taking part, please contact:
Dr. Maria Pertl
NEIL (NeuroEnhancement for Independent Lives)
Trinity Institute of Neuroscience
Trinity College Dublin
Telephone: 01 896 8414


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