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Research Grants - 2008


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Research Grants 2008


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2008 Grants - Gonyea

Circulo de Cuidado: A Behavioral Group Intervention for Latino Families

Judith G. Gonyea, Ph.D.
Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts

2008 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant

Dementia rates among Latinos in the United States are projected to increase six-fold by 2050 to 1.3 million people. Yet there is ample evidence that many older Latinos and their families are not receiving services to manage dementia and are underrepresented in Alzheimer's disease research.

Judith G. Gonyea, Ph.D., and colleagues will study a five-week, Spanish-language program for Latinos who are caring for family members with Alzheimer's disease. The behavioral intervention program, Circulo de Cuidado, focuses on helping families cope with the neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease, such as agitation and apathy. More than 80 percent of people with Alzheimer's disease experience these symptoms, which are a considerable source of stress for caregivers.

The Boston University team will partner with the Massachusetts chapter of the Alzheimer's Association to create a group of researchers and practitioners with expertise in the Latino community, particularly with Puerto Rican and Dominican families, which make up the majority of Boston's Latino population. The researchers will study the feasibility and effectiveness of group behavioral intervention programs developed specifically for Latino caregivers in a randomized study of 60 Latino families, half of whom will go through the Circulo de Cuidado program. The program is modeled on an existing behavioral intervention program called CARE, which has shown good results with Caucasian caregivers.

The group hopes that caregivers who go through the Circulo de Cuidado program will develop greater coping strategies and effectiveness in caregiving compared to those in the control group. The researchers also aim to show less distress related to their loved one's neuropsychiatric symptoms, depression and anxiety.