Alzheimer's Effects on the Family

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Once someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, members of that person’s family will be affected as well. Alzheimer’s is a rapidly growing disease meaning that more people are being affected by it in some sort of way now than in past years. Figures show that, in 2012, another American will be diagnosed with the disease every sixty-eight seconds, totaling about sixteen million (“factsheet”). By the year 2050, it is predicted that a new case of Alzheimer’s will present itself every thirty-three seconds (“factsheet”). This disease differentiates itself from others in that the family members have to understand that a patient cannot make a full recovery (Nizario). Alzheimer’s will never go away and will permanently change the lifestyle of everybody who is closely involved with a patient (Nizario). Caregivers and family members will experience negative effects emotionally, bodily, and financially in an effort to take care of their loved one, who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

As family members witness the disease take control of a loved one, they will experience their own emotions. In fact, some risk factors for caregivers can include anxiety and depression (Brinkley). Alzheimer’s disease usually changed the personality of patients when severe stages were reached. Patients can wander and lash out at others. This change in personality has an emotional toll on the family members or caregivers (Brinkley). As patients’ personalities change, it is important for families to learn to “differentiate between the disease and [their] loved one” (D’Antuono). Frustration, anger, fear, sadness, and concern over personal memory lapses are “a range of natural emotions” that caregivers of patients can experience (“Consumer/Patient”). Statistics show that up to fifty percent of caregivers experience psychological distress, usually depression (“Consumer/Patient”). Over eighty percent of families who have a member diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have reported some sort...
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