Intended for healthcare professionals


Supporting people who care for adults with dementia

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 25 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6691
  1. Marja-Liisa Laakkonen, geriatrician and researcher1,
  2. Kaisu Pitkälä, professor2
  1. 1Geriatric Memory Clinic, Department of Social Services and Health Care, Laakso Hospital, Helsinki, FIN-00099, Finland
  2. 2Unit of Primary Health Care, Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Helsinki University Central Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  1. marja-liisa.laakkonen{at}

New coping programme alleviates depression and does it cost effectively

Family members who care for relatives with dementia perform an important service and save the healthcare system a considerable amount of money.1 However, they do so at substantial cost to themselves. Care givers have a higher rate of depression, anxiety, impaired health, and mortality than adults without this caring role.1 2 Our healthcare system focuses on patients, and services are based around the person with dementia. However, the problems and needs in caregiving families are highly intertwined, and more attention should be paid to helping the carers.

Several non-pharmacological interventions have been shown to improve outcomes for both the givers and receivers of care.2 3 4 In a linked paper (doi:10.1136/bmj.f6276), Livingston and colleagues report findings from the START study, which evaluated a new intervention model aimed entirely at carers. The new trial and its associated cost effectiveness analysis advance our understanding of how to alleviate carers’ affective symptoms, such as depression, and improve their quality of life in …

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