A research survey that began by looking into the wellbeing of family carers of people with dementia has emerged as the catalyst for a far more complex investigation, which in turn highlights an issue broader than dementia care alone.
Griffith University’s Menzies Health Institute researcher Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer had been exploring a number of factors affecting carers of people with dementia. These included suicide risk, self-efficacy, physical health, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, optimism, burden, coping strategies, and social support.
Dr O’Dwyer and her colleagues surveyed nearly 600 family carers for her research with the Institute’s Centre for Health Practice Innovation. The study revealed that one in six carers had seriously contemplated suicide in the previous 12 months, with one-third of those likely to attempt suicide in the future.
A note from one carer – about the possibility of contemplating homicide – prompted a further study with interviews of 21 family carers of people with dementia. Dr O’Dwyer said this follow-up study revealed some carers actively contemplated killing the person they were caring for, while others had ‘passive death wishes’, hoping that the person might die in their sleep…read more