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2019 Alzheimer's Association Research Grant to Promote Diversity (AARG-D)

Characterizing Dementia Caregiver Stress and Its Far-Reaching Impacts

What are the impacts of caregiver stress in a diverse population of caregivers and their recipients?

Oanh Meyer, Ph.D.
University of California
Davis, CA - United States


Caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias provide emotional support as well assistance with several daily living activities. More than 16 million Americans provide caregiving for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Past studies suggest that Alzheimer’s disease can present serious challenges for caregivers, often impacting their emotional and physical health. Consequently, this could impact quality of care delivered to the care recipients. The effects of how a change in caregiver health and mental health may impact their ability to provide care are unclear. Researchers are also trying to understand what role social and cultural factors — factors such as adversity in early life — may play in the well-being of diverse dementia caregivers and their loved ones.

Research Plan

Dr. Oanh Meyer and colleagues will conduct a detailed study of how caregiving for people with dementia or MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment)— a condition of mild memory loss that precedes dementia —affects caregivers and care recipients in a variety of ethnic groups. Dr. Meyer’s work will focus on a population of white, black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino individuals who go to the Alzheimer’s Disease Center clinic at the University of California, Davis.
Specifically, the investigators will characterize stress experienced by caregivers of individuals with MCI and dementia. Dr. Meyer will also examine how this stress may impact the caregivers’ mental and physical health. Lastly, the researchers  will determine if there is an association between caregiver mental health with the well-being and health outcomes of their care recipients.  Dr. Meyer believes that both caregiver stress and care recipient outcomes could vary depending on ethnicity, social and cultural factors. Additionally, Dr. Meyer proposes that the pattern of stress might manifest uniquely in the different stages of MCI and dementia.


The study results may help shed light on the diverse nature and consequences of caregiver stress. If successful, this study could lead to the development of more targeted interventions to improve the overall effectiveness of dementia caregiving and to reduce the emotional, physical and financial costs of that care.

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