University of Utah researchers have received a grant to study the use and effectiveness of respite services by people who care for patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Personal time has been identified as the most important need of Alzheimer's care-givers. The U. of U. study will focus on respite services such as adult day care.The Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association Inc. provided a $25,000 targeted research grant to study care-givers who use adult day-care services at the Sunshine Terrace in Logan, and Neighborhood House in Salt Lake City.

Dale A. Lund, professor and director of the U.'s Gerontology Center at the College of Nursing, is principal investigator.

The project, to begin in January, is an extension of a study at Neighborhood House by Lund, Michael Caserta, research assistant professor of nursing at the Gerontology Center, and Scott D. Wright, assistant professor of family and consumer studies in the College of Social and Behavioral Science.

The researchers will explore how Alzheimer's care-givers use their time while the care recipient is at day care, then determine which uses of time and activities are most beneficial.

"It is likely that some care-givers actually increase their stress and burden by spending their available respite time helping others and neglecting their own needs," Lund said.

The 40 care-givers participating in the study will keep weekly activity logs and will be interviewed periodically during the study. Study results will be used to develop educational materials for care-givers who use respite services.