Dementia care: mental health effects, intervention strategies, and clinical implications

Lancet Neurol. 2006 Nov;5(11):961-73. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(06)70599-3.


Caring for elderly people with dementia is associated with well-documented increases in burden, distress, and decrements in mental health and wellbeing. More severe behavioural, cognitive, and functional impairments in a patient are associated with higher levels of burden and distress. Distress increases with care hours per week, number of tasks, and declining coping and support resources. Demographic factors also affect levels of burden and distress. Promising, evidence-based interventions exist, but substantial economic and policy barriers preclude their widespread dissemination. Health-care policy makers should consider addressing these barriers; clinicians and families must campaign for reimbursement; and clinical researchers must develop more potent preventive interventions. In this article we review how dementia care affects the mental health of the carer and identify interventions that might be useful in mitigating carer burden and distress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Home Nursing / methods
  • Home Nursing / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Models, Psychological