Death anxiety and spousal caregiving of persons with dementia

Persons with a dementing illness such as Alzheimer disease are often cared for at home by family members. Caring for someone with Alzheimer disease can be a stressful and challenging experience. Death anxiety (the fear of death or the dying process) is one issue that has received little attention in research on family caregivers of persons with dementia. As a person with Alzheimer disease may die within years of receiving this diagnosis, a family member may experience death anxiety through fear of watching the person they care for die, or fear of dying while the person with dementia still needs their support. Anthony Kupferschmidt is seeking to understand the degree to which family caregivers of persons with dementia experience feelings of death anxiety and the effect of these fears on their health and ability to cope and continue in their caregiving role. Findings from this research could ultimately contribute to improvements in education and other community-level programs to better support caregivers of persons with a terminal diagnosis. Anthony is also the 2006 recipient of the Canadian Association on Gerentology Margery Boyce Bursary. This award supports post-baccalaureate students who have made a significant contribution to their community through volunteer activities with or on behalf of seniors and who are registered in a program of study focused on aging or the aged. This prestigious award is the only national award available to gerontology graduate students that is not granted on the basis of financial need.