Poor caregiver mental health predicts mortality of patients with neurodegenerative disease.
- Author(s): Lwi, Sandy J
- Ford, Brett Q
- Casey, James J
- Miller, Bruce L
- Levenson, Robert W
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1701597114
Dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases cause profound declines in functioning; thus, many patients require caregivers for assistance with daily living. Patients differ greatly in how long they live after disease onset, with the nature and severity of the disease playing an important role. Caregiving can also be extremely stressful, and many caregivers experience declines in mental health. In this study, we investigated the role that caregiver mental health plays in patient mortality. In 176 patient-caregiver dyads, we found that worse caregiver mental health predicted greater patient mortality even when accounting for key risk factors in patients (i.e., diagnosis, age, sex, dementia severity, and patient mental health). These findings highlight the importance of caring for caregivers as well as patients when attempting to improve patients' lives.