Possible Psychological Effects of Alzheimer's Disease to the Family of Bedan Financial Management Students

Topics: Alzheimer's disease, Neuron, Brain Pages: 9 (2458 words) Published: August 26, 2010
Chapter 1

The Problem and Its Backgrounds


Mild forgetfulness and memory delays are often part of the normal aging process. Older individuals simply need more time to learn a new fact or to remember an old one. We all have occasional difficulty remembering a word or someone's name; however, those with Alzheimer's disease will find these symptoms progressing in frequency and severity. Everyone, from time to time will forget where they placed their car keys; an individual with Alzheimer’s disease may not remember the purpose of the keys. Its starts in memory problems that interfere with daily living and steadily worsen and gradually aggravates with having difficulty managing money, driving, orientation, shopping, following instructions, abstract thinking and finding the right words. There may also be other problems, such as poor judgment, emotional instability and apathy. Most people whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease provide support to their loved ones.

The major risk factors for AD areag e and family history. Other possible risk factors include a serious head injury and lower levels of education. Scientists are also studying additional factors to see if they may cause the disease. Some of these factors include:

• Genetic (Inherited) Factors: Scientists believe that genetic factors may be involved in more than half of the cases ofAD. For example, a protein called apolipoprotein E (ApoE) may be important. Everyone has ApoE, which helps carry cholesterol in the blood. However, the function of ApoE in the brain is less understood. The ApoE gene has three forms. One form seems to protect a person from AD, and another form seems to make a person more likely to develop the disease. Scientists still need to learn a lot more about ApoE and its role in AD.

• Environmental Factors: Scientists have found aluminum, zinc, and other metals in the brain tissue of people with AD. They are studying these metals to see if they cause AD or if they build up in the brain as a result of the disease.

• Viruses: Some scientists think that a virus may cause AD. They are studying viruses that might cause the changes seen in the brain tissue of people with AD.

AD probably is not caused by any one factor. It is more likely to be several factors that act differently in each person. For example, genetic factors alone may not be enough to cause the disease. Other risk factors may combine with a person’s genetic makeup to increase her or his chance of developing the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is often called a family disease, because the chronic stress of watching a loved one slowly decline affects everyone. Comprehensive treatment must therefore address the needs of the entire family. This includes emotional support, counseling, and educational programs about Alzheimer’s disease for individuals and family members as they strive to provide a safe and comfortable environment at home.

Through training, caregivers can learn how to control unwanted behaviors, improve communication, and keep the person with Alzheimer’s safe. Research has shown that caregivers benefit from training and support groups and that participation in these groups allows caregivers to care for their loved one at home longer. The resources listed at the end of this fact sheet can help you find classes and support groups.

The role of the caregiver changes over time as the needs of the person with AD change. The following suggestions can help caregivers prepare for the future.

Conceptual Framework/ Theoretical Framework

Most of the social and economic burden of Alzheimer’s disease is attributable to its consequences in terms of disability. The main pathway leads from pathology to impairments, functional limitations and disability. Pathologies are expressed by impairments in specific cognitive processes. Functional limitations are limitations in generic cognitive tasks such...
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