Caring for a spouse with dementia is a chronic stressor that may compromise caregivers' own cognitive functioning and capacity to provide adequate care. We examined whether having (i) a spouse with dementia and (ii) a spouse who requires assistance with activities of daily living predicted cognitive and functional impairments in respondents to the Health and Retirement Study (n = 7965). Respondents who had a spouse who requires care had poorer cognitive functioning, whereby this relationship was significantly stronger for male respondents. Having a spouse with dementia moderated the relationship between income and cognition and predicted caregiver functional impairment, though not when depression was controlled. Although we found no significant differences on any individual cognitive domains between 179 dementia caregivers and sociodemographically matched noncaregivers, our findings suggest that caregivers, especially men, and low-income individuals who have a spouse with dementia are more vulnerable to adverse cognitive outcomes. Targeting depression in spouses of people with dementia may help to prevent functional impairments.
Trinity College Dublin ->