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Dr. Okun

Post of the Week: How do I know if I have Parkinson’s disease related caregiver strain?

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Research from Carter et. al. from the NPF Center of Excellence in Oregon (2010) emphasized that “at risk” individuals with caregiver strain should be identified, diagnosed and treated. Carter and colleagues examined the potential reasons for strain including lack of personal resources, strain from worry, and global strain. Young spouses (ages 40-55) were found to be at greater risk for strain (perhaps from stresses of children, work, and other factors), however both young and old Parkinson’s disease caregivers had high levels of strain.


Dr. Parks and Novielli in American Family Physician (2000) recommended some general areas that should be assessed when suspicious of caregiver strain.


Are you under a lot of stress?

Are you possibly depressed, feeling down, feeling anxious, or feeling irritable much of each day?

Do family and friends visit frequently and also telephone often?

Do you get relief from someone to watch your spouse so that you can leave the house each week?

Do you have specific plans to address your stress?




1. Carter JH, Lyons KS, Stewart BJ, Archbold PG, Scobee R. Does age make a difference in caregiver strain? Comparison of young versus older caregivers in early-stage Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord. 2010 Apr 30;25(6):724-30.



2. Caap-Ahlgren M, Dehlin O. Factors of importance to the caregiver burden experienced by family caregivers of Parkinson's disease patients. Aging Clin Exp

Res. 2002 Oct;14(5):371-7.

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