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Kinless Older Adults with Dementia are Studied by Taylor, Gray, Freitag, Shell-Duncan, and Berridge

Posted: 2/2/2024 (CSDE Research)

CSDE Affiliates Dr. Janelle Taylor (Anthropology, University of Toronto), Dr. Marlaine Figueroa Gray (Anthropology, UW), Dr. Bettina Shell-Duncan (Anthropology, UW), Dr. Clara Berridge (Social Work, UW), and CSDE Trainee Callie Freitag (Public Policy & Governance, UW) released research in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, titled “Kinless Older Adults With Dementia: Qualitative Analysis of Data From the Adult Changes in Thought Study“. This article is just one of several arising from research supported by a grant from the National Institutes on Aging (NIA) and administered through CSDE. This study sought to examine the circumstances and needs of older adults who participated in the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. Adults in the study were “kinless,” defined as having no living spouse or children, when they developed dementia. Authors conducted a qualitative analysis of administrative research documents and electronic health record data, revealing that the life trajectories that led members of the analytic cohort to be kinless at dementia onset were quite varied. This research highlights the importance of nonfamily caregivers and participants’ own roles as caregivers. Their findings suggest that clinicians and health systems may need to work with other parties to directly provide dementia caregiving support rather than rely on family, and address factors such as neighborhood affordability that particularly affect older adults who have limited family support.

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