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Teaching Caregivers to Cope Better May Strengthen Their Lives

According to researchers a brief but intense program that has helped many Alzheimer's disease caregivers cope with thier challenges may play a central role in helping caregivers of cancer patients . Dr. Susan C. McMillan of the University of South Florida was the lead author in this study published in the Journal Cancer.

This study demonstrated that programs which teach problem-solving and coping skills with success to help caregivers of Alzheimer's patients can also be used for caregivers of loved ones dying from cancer.

Caregivers are taught to be:

  • Less stressed
  • Disproportionately concerned in their daily encounters with their care receipient.

Caregivers were better able to:

  • Tolerate patient symptoms such as pain and constipation.
  • Carry out tasks such as providing personal care.
  • Employ coping skills while receiving emotional support.

Emotional support may be appreciated by caregivers but it appears to be more effective(re: improving caregiver quality of life or caregiver burden) to provide it along with new skills.