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Caregivers of elderly with dementia more distressed: Study

SINGAPORE — One in 10 of those aged 60 and above in Singapore has dementia, and their caregivers are showing signs of “significant distress,” according to a study looking at the well-being of the elderly in Singapore.

Elderly waiting for a bus at Toa Payoh Central. Photo: Robin Choo/TODAY

Elderly waiting for a bus at Toa Payoh Central. Photo: Robin Choo/TODAY

SINGAPORE — One in 10 of those aged 60 and above in Singapore has dementia, and their caregivers are showing signs of “significant distress,” according to a study looking at the well-being of the elderly in Singapore.

The S$4.4 million study established the prevalence and factors associated with dementia and depression among those aged 60 and above in Singapore. Information on depression will be presented at a later date.

The study also examined the burden caregivers face when dealing with the conditions. Almost 5,000 Singaporeans were interviewed during the period of August 2012 to December 2013 in the nationwide study. They comprised elderly Singaporeans above the age of 60 and people who were close to them, such as a caregiver, a family member or a close friend.

FACTORS LINKED TO DEMENTIA

The most significant factor associated with dementia was old age, according to the study. Findings showed those who were depressed or had a history of stroke were at a higher risk. Other factors such as a lower level of education, as well as non-employment among the elderly, were also associated with dementia. Almost nine in 10 people with dementia needed care “some or much of the time”.

CAREGIVERS DISTRESSED

The study also examined how their caregivers were affected. Caregivers of elderly with dementia experienced nearly three times more distress, compared with caregivers of seniors without dementia. This includes symptoms of depression, irritability and anxiety.

The study, led by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), is a collaborative effort between IMH, Changi General Hospital (CGH), National University Health System (NUHS), Ministry of Health (MOH), Raffles Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry (IOP), King’s College London.

It was funded by the Ministry of Health (S$3.2m) and the Singapore Millennium Foundation (S$1.2m). CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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