Caregivers dying before care recipients with dementia

Joseph E Gaugler, Eric Jutkowitz, Colleen M. Peterson, Rachel Zmora

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Introduction: Although a handful of studies have examined mortality among caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia (ADRD), the proportion of caregivers who die before their cognitively impaired care recipients remains unknown. Methods: We conducted descriptive and survival analyses on up to 17 years of data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study to evaluate the proportion of spouse caregivers who died before their care recipients. Results: Eighteen percent of spouse ADRD caregivers died before their care recipients, and spouse caregivers had a significantly lower risk of mortality than their husbands or wives with ADRD. Discussion: Although a large majority of spouse ADRD caregivers will likely not die before their cognitively impaired husband or wife, those persons with ADRD who survive longer than their caregivers are worthy of future inquiry given their potential risk for negative health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-693
Number of pages6
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Caregiver
  • Dementia
  • Mortality
  • Timing


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