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04-12-18 Neuropsicologia

PREVALENCE OF GERIATRIC DEPRESSION AND ALEXITHYMIA

IN WIFE CAREGIVERS OF PATIENTS WITH DEMENTIA


BACKGROUND:


Caregiving for a patient with dementia is a stressful process which increases the risk of physical and mental problems and tends to restrict the social life of the caregiver to the caregiver-patient relationship [1]. Traditionally, the role of the family’s main caregiver was assumed by married, middle-aged women who lived with the patient, her spouse and children. However, due to world population ageing and changes in global economy, this profile is starting to change. At present, the majority of female caregivers are elderly women who, in addition to providing care for their spouses, go through the vicissitudes of their own aging process [2,3]. When analyzing specifically the group age of subjects over 65 years old, a higher occurrence of symptoms of depression is found, which makes it one of the main mental health problems [4]. In this respect, Alexopoulos [5] argues that physical, economical and psychosocial loss along with biological changes suffered by older adults can be considered predictors of depression. During the last years, different studies started to analyze the relationship between Depression and Alexithymia, in different populations [6,7,8]. Although the results are controversial, several studies point out to the joint presence of these constructs.


OBJECTIVE:


To evaluate the prevalence of Geriatric Depression and Alexithymia and the possible association between these two variables in elderly wife caregivers, of patient with dementia, undiagnosed with Depression.


HYPOTHESIS:


Higher levels of Alexithymia experienced by wife caregivers, of husband with dementia, are associated to an increased presence of Geriatric Depression.


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