Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Apathy Undermines Bonds between Spouses, Dementia Patients: Worse Than Excessive Behavior

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Apathy Undermines Bonds between Spouses, Dementia Patients: Worse Than Excessive Behavior

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- Apathy is much more likely than excessive behavior to damage the relationship between a person with dementia and the spouse-caregiver, because it is associated with the death of reciprocal interaction.

Even though excessive behavior in dementia is difficult to manage and can inhibit social activities, spouses are often still able to communicate with each other, verbally or by other means, and this ability seems to help preserve the pair bond, Dr. Frans Verhey pointed out at a meeting of the International Psychogeriatric Association.

Dr. Verhey discussed some of the results that were found in the Maastricht Study of Behavior in Dementia, which was a 2-year follow-up study aimed at examining behavior in patients with dementia and the relationship between those behaviors and caregiver characteristics.

The caregiver data emerged from interviews with 53 caregiver / dementia couples (Int. J. Geriatr. Psychiatry 18[2]:149-54, 2003).

Caregiver perception of changes in the quality of their relationship was assessed with questionnaires and interviews every 6 months for 2 years. …

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