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Older Caregivers at Greater Risk of Dementia

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- What happens when you add the burdens of caring for someone with dementia to the burdens of growing old yourself?

A report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society finds that older caregivers are at an increased risk of dementia, and often have problems with memory and attention themselves.

The authors say the reasons for this cognitive decline may include depression, loneliness, social isolation and poor diet and exercise.

The report notes they are all modifiable risk factors that may be reduced by intervention.

In a separate report, the Pew Research Center says people caring for loved ones are more likely than other adults to avail themselves of social network sites to share health information and support.

It is possible we are seeing a generational shift. The isolation and loneliness that contribute to the mental decline of older caregivers could be reduced as younger caregivers make increased use of online social networks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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