The Boston Globe (4/7, Lazar) reported, “Violence is uncommon among people suffering from dementia, and acts of extreme violence are rarer still,” according to experts “stunned by allegations that a Shrewsbury [MA] man stricken with the condition had brutally slain his wife.” The piece pointed out, however, that “statistics on the frequency of violence by dementia patients are hard to find. One small 1992 study by University of Illinois researchers found that roughly 16 percent of Alzheimer’s patients had been violent toward a family member who cared for them in the year since their diagnosis. The violence was defined as hitting, kicking, biting, punching, or threats with a weapon.”
Studies Underscore Stress Of Caregiving For Patients With Dementia. In a lengthy article, the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel (4/8, Nelson) reported, “More than 400,000 Tennesseans are caregivers for patients with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.” The caregiving comes with a steep cost. “Study after study highlights the stress of caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s. In one report, more than 60 percent of dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as ‘high’ or ‘very high.’ A third of caregivers said they had experienced symptoms of depression.” One study, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh on behalf of the National Caregivers Alliance, found an association between a person’s Alzheimer’s progression with a decline in health of the caregiver.
— “Extreme violence by dementia patients is rare,”Kay Lazar, Boston.com, April 7, 2012.