A course designed to provide support, training and stress relief for dementia carers has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety.
The START (STrAtegies for RelaTives) was found to benefit those who took part for at least two years, according to a study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
“It is great to see research focusing on improving the well-being of dementia carers”
Researchers from University College London studied 260 family caregivers, who all said the eight-week course had helped them battle depression and anxiety. The course, which was delivered by psychology graduates, cost the same to run as the standard care given to the control group.
Results from the study have previously been published in The British Medical Journal.
Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is great to see research focusing on improving the well-being of dementia carers whilst other scientists search for treatments and a cure.
“Too often people forget the profound effect dementia has on loved ones caring for someone with dementia and surrounding friends and family. There are 670,000 people caring for someone with dementia in the UK and these carers save the economy a staggering £8bn a year,” he said.
“If results like these were found with a new drug, it would be hailed a breakthrough. This programme gives us an effective way to support carers and reduce depression and anxiety, which will have the added benefit of improving life for those that they care for.”
He added: “With so few routes for care interventions like these to be implemented, Alzheimer’s Society is delighted to now be funding the delivery of this training on a larger scale.”
Staff from the Alzheimer’s Society were also specially trained to provide a scheme called The Carer Information and Support Programme (CrISP), which is funded by Lloyds Banking Group.
This scheme equips carers with the most up-to-date information and support and offers two stages of training. The first looks to help carers supporting someone who has just been diagnosed as suffering from dementia, while the second helps carers once the condition has progressed.