New grant looks to study caregivers of dementia patients

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The National Institute on Aging will provide funding for research conducted by Arizona State University (ASU) to study caregivers of dementia patients who have died. A grant of more than $700,000 will go to ASU’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation to aid in this research. Up to 25% of caregivers experience clinical depression and loneliness.

Assistant Professor Zachary Baker of ASU’s Center for Innovation in Healthy and Resilient Aging has dedicated his career to understanding former caregivers of those with dementia so he can help them garner the psychosocial resources and technological tools to thrive. He joined Arizona Horizon to discuss how the research can help caregivers.

“One thing we’re looking for is people to join our study,” Baker said. “But what we’re trying to figure out is who’s going to do better and who’s going to do worse after dementia care. So we know that every 10 minutes or so we have four new bereaved dementia caregivers in the U.S., and one of them is going to struggle mightily. They’re going to have this kind of grief that you can’t get through. It doesn’t go away. You can’t work, you can’t live, you can’t have fun with people anymore. And we need to find those people so we can make their lives better.”

Baker said people with dementia often receive care for four to eight years, often more.

“We’re learning new things every day,” Baker said. “One of the reasons why I focus on this bereavement context is I can point you towards dozens of colleagues around the country who are working on caregiving while it’s happening.”

Zachary Baker, Assistant Professor at ASU's Center for Innovation in Healthy and Resilient Aging

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