Steven Zarit, professor and head of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University, conducted eight daily telephone interviews on consecutive days with 173 family caregivers of individuals with dementia who use an ADS -- a service that is designed to provide social and some health services to adults who need supervised care outside the home during the day.
On some of the interview days, the individuals with dementia attended an ADS program. On other days they were with the caregiver most or all of the time.
In the daily interviews, the researchers asked the caregivers about the stressors and positive events they had been exposed to, as well as their mood and health symptoms during the day.
The research team then used multi-level statistical models to analyze the results of the telephone interviews.
The study, published in The Gerontologist, found caregivers had lower exposure to care-related stressors and more positive experiences on days when their family members with dementia used ADS. On these days, caregivers also were exposed to more non-care stressors. Yet the overall effect of the use of adult day services on caregivers was lowered anger and reduced impact of non-care stressors on depressive symptoms, the study said.