-Dr. Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC
The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published a twelve-year study at Utah State University that showed a possibility of older married adults having a higher risk for developing dementia if their spouse has dementia.
Over the decade, they studied 1,221 married couples over the age of 65 to monitor the rate of dementia in husbands, wives, or both. Studies found that there was informal dementia caregiving when one’s husband or wife had the disease. Being a caregiver would often lead to stress and physical exertion, and lack of energy. The researchers at Utah State University wanted to see if this would correlate to dementia in the spouse of a loved one who already has dementia. Results of their experiment showed that incident dementia occurred more often when a senior has a spouse with dementia. They were six times as likely to develop it, with other age and demographic factors included.
The scientists continue to work on this experiment to extend the current data. Hopefully, they will find more factors that distinguish those who are more vulnerable to dementia.