Researchers at the Regenstrief Institute Inc. in Indianapolis and the Indiana University Center for Aging Research have received $3 million from the National Institute on Aging. The grant will cover five years and focus on studying the benefits and harms of Alzheimer’s disease screenings for family members of likely caregivers should their older relatives be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The institute and center say this type of research has never been conducted.
"Does early identification of Alzheimer’s by screening prepare family members for a future caregiving role or does it depress them?" Principal investigator Nicole Fowler asked. "We know that a delayed dementia diagnosis may perpetuate family beliefs that changes in cognition are part of ‘normal aging.’ These are beliefs that have been shown to aggravate caregivers’ stress, burden and sense of isolation. But what we don’t yet know is — if by identifying possible Alzheimer’s early — if we can better prepare family members for a caregiving role and reduce their burden."
Enrollment is underway for a the study, which will include 1,800 adults age 65+ who have not been diagnosed with the disease, other dimentias or serious mental illness. The most likely caregiver of these adults will also be enrolled. The pairs will be tracked for two years. Fowler adds "we can’t stop the train from leaving the station, but we can help the journey for both the older adults and their families. This study will answer the question of how screening for Alzheimer’s affects that crucial individual — the family caregiver."
You can connect to more about the grant and research by clicking here.