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Daily Experiences and Well-being among Spousal Caregivers for Older Adults Experiencing Lewy Body Dementia

Collaborators: Karen Fingerman (PI)

Funding: National Institute on Aging

Grant: R01 (AG087118-01)

Project Summary: There is a dire need for research addressing caregivers of persons with Lewy Body Dementias (LBD), the second most common cause of dementia. LBD encompasses Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Parkinson’s Disease with Dementia and accounts for 4 to 15% of dementia cases. Core symptoms of LBD present a distinct profile of caregiving demands driving high stress: fluctuations in cognition, hallucinations, delusions, and behavioral sleep disturbances (including acting out dreams). The proposed study will enhance the well- being of spousal caregivers for older adults with LBD by gathering information about caregiving tasks, caregiver stress, and caregivers’ psychological and physical reactions to that stress throughout the day, allowing development of caregiver interventions and programs tailored to the unique needs of caregivers for older adults experiencing Lewy Body Dementia. These are compounded by cognitive symptoms of AD and motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, shared by LBD. Caregivers living with a spouse or romantic partner who has LBD (N = 150 caregivers) will complete a baseline interview and Ecological Momentary Assessment surveys (EMA; 5 minute surveys) every 3 hours for 4 days. The surveys involve reports of care recipient symptoms, caregiving tasks and stress, self-efficacy, support and well-being. Caregivers will wear a Fitbit to measure cardiovascular functions (heart rate) and sleep as indicators of stress reactivity. The care recipient will wear a FitBit to assess agitation via physiological indicators (e.g., heart rate).