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The onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects couples’ relationship. We investigated the perception of change and sexual satisfaction in spouse-caregivers and their partners diagnosed with AD.
We compared 74 dyads of people with Alzheimer's disease (PwAD)/spouse-caregivers and 21 elderly dyads control. We assessed sexual satisfaction with Questionnaire on Sexual Experience and Satisfaction (QSES), cognition using a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), disease severity using a Clinical Dementia Rating scale (CDR), awareness of disease with Assessment Scale of Psychosocial Impact of the Diagnosis of Dementia (ASPIDD), functionality with Pfeffer Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ), depressive symptoms with Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD), quality of life using a Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease Scale (QoL-AD), and burden using a Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI).
We found differences between the perception and no perception of change in sexual activity of PwAD (p < 0.001), spouse-caregivers (p < 0.01), and controls (p < 0.05). Moderate to severe sexual dissatisfaction was observed in 36.5% of PwAD, 65% of spouse-caregivers, and 31% of controls. PwAD sexual satisfaction was related to cognitive impairment (p < 0.05). Spouse-caregivers sexual satisfaction was related to gender (p < 0.05) and the presence of sexual activity (p < 0.001).
The perception of change with higher sexual dissatisfaction, were significant in PwAD and their spouse-caregivers, in comparison with couples of elderly without dementia.
The relationship between sexuality and quality of life (QoL) of spouse-caregivers remains unclear. We designed this study to evaluate the relationship between sexual satisfaction and spouse-caregivers’ QoL, and to determine the influence of the clinical characteristics of people with dementia (PWD) on spouse-caregivers’ self-reported QoL.
Using a cross-sectional design, 54 PWD and their spouse-caregivers completed the QoL in Alzheimer's Disease scale (QoL-AD), questionnaire on sexual experience and satisfaction (QSES), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Clinical Dementia Rating scale (CDR), Assessment Scale of Psychosocial Impact of the Diagnosis of Dementia (ASPIDD), Pfeffer functional activities questionnaire (FAQ), the Cornell scale for depression in dementia (CSDD) and Zarit burden interview (ZBI). Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were conducted to identify the factors that influenced the spouse-caregivers’ QoL ratings.
We did not find a significant difference in QoL between male and female spouse-caregivers (p = 0.71). We also found that 13% of males and 48.1% of females demonstrated moderate to severe sexual dissatisfaction. However, we did not find a significant correlation between spouse-caregivers’ QoL and sexual satisfaction (p = 0.41). The linear regression indicated that impaired awareness and lower QoL of PWD were significantly related to spouse-caregivers’ QoL (p = 0.000).
The spouse-caregivers’ QoL is influenced by awareness of disease and PWD QoL. Our study would be helpful for the development of adequate psycho-educational approaches to increase spouse-caregivers’ QoL, considering the specificities of the couples’ relationship.
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