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Study Proves Mothers of Children with Disabilities Age Faster Cognitively

Study Proves Mothers of Children with Disabilities Age Faster Cognitively

The minds of mothers who have special needs children have higher memory declines than their peers, according to a new study published in The Journals of Gerontology.  However, fathers did not see the same impact. Jieun Song, the associate researcher who led the project, stated that, “These mothers often face more chronically stressful situation due to their children’s disabilities and need for care and support”. Both mental and physical health issues in children led to a mother’s chronic memory loss.

The research was based on a group of 128 parents of children with disabilities and 512 parents of those without disabilities. The research was nationwide, where both parents completed an interview, cognitive tests, and mail-in surveys.

The mothers who reported the greatest difficulty in handling the children were found to the have the worst effects on memory. Those with the best support from family and friends felt more in control and seemed to possess protective effects in their cognitive decline.

While fathers were not as affected as mothers cognitively, both sexes of children with disabilities had a higher amount of negative experiences in parenting, however, fathers in both study groups were similar cognitively.

However, mothers of disabled children were twice as likely to have experienced depression within a year of the study when compared to mothers with non-disabled children. The same mothers reported poorer physical health, despite the fact that both groups of women experienced the same amount of activity.

The study speculated that fathers had less cognitive impact because they are less likely to spend time exposes to childcare and housework. Additionally, research suggests that men are less vulnerable to the effects of stress on cognition than women.

The end result of the study was that quality friendships, a control on life and a physically active lifestyle helps protect parents from cognitive aging.

Read the full study here: The Gerontological Society of America

If you have any questions about support groups for parents of disabled children, contact the Vancouver Home Health Care Agency today.
At Vancouver Home Health Care Agency, Caring and Compassion is our business.

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