Family caregivers of Alzheimer's patients who received intensive counseling reduced their stress levels and delayed the need for nursing home care for their loved ones
The delay in nursing home admission translated to an average savings of about $90,000 per family
Spouses who received the intensive counseling were able to put off admission to a nursing home by a year and a half
But the study found that the extra support provided by counseling helped caregivers cope with many difficult aspects of the illness.
Caregivers also were less likely to suffer from depression and said they were happier with the support they received from other family members
The study was published in today's issue of the journal Neurology
"Most family members would like to keep their loved one at home as long as possible," Mittelman says. The study suggests that most families can achieve that goal, she says, when they get the support they need.