Alzheimers disease (AD) is a condition that elicits abnormal changes within the brain thereby affecting memory and mental abilities. The initial symptom, which is manifested because of the disease, is the loss of memory and as the illness progresses, the patient experience loss of decision-making ability, reasoning ability, judgment and eventually the critical skills thus making the day-to-day activities difficult without the help of others (Ali, 2012). The qualitative aspect of AD effects can be reflected by research, which involves interviewing family members whose loved ones suffer from the disease. Most of the studies have been conducted have yielded the following qualitative information concerning the effects of the disease on the family members:
The relatives of the victim usually experience lots of struggle as they cope with the behavioral changes of the loved ones, they have to decide to present the patient for placement and adjusting during the transition time of moving the patient to a long-term care facility (Ali, 2012). Several studies have shown that there are minimal or not at all any emotional support the caregivers receive from the healthcare providers.
Alzheimers disease has wielding impacts on the familial caregivers. Much of the studies have shown that the caregivers are experiencing enormous burden that requires emotional support, which is rare, the problems encountered ranges from a high level of stress and difficulty in the decision-making process.
The families also regard associated cultural beliefs about the AD; the assumptions included stigma associated with the AD and the perceived loss of memory, these have created barriers by discouraging families to seek services and support they need.
Financial challenges to care for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer disease are costly and demanding. More finances is required to cater for the unending costs of physician care, pharmaceuticals, diagnostic tests, as well as personal home nursing care (Light & Lebowitz, 1990). There are also indirect costs that are incurred due to loss of earnings by the family member who is providing care to the patient since it involves the effects of Alzheimer on the victims family members relinquishing employment to take full time of the loved one.
Quantitative data on the Effects of Alzheimers on the Patients Family Members
Unpaid caregivers: In the USA, about 80% of the help provided to older adults comes from the family members, friends, and unpaid volunteers; it is found that these are people who take their productive time forgoing economic activities that would create financial worthiness to look after their loved ones who are sick (Light & Lebowitz, 1990).
Increased chances of physical illness: most of the caregivers have reported a substantive number of physical health problems ranging from various circumstances. The disease, which is prevalent in these groups, includes cardiovascular problems, poor sleeping patterns, lower immunity, and reduced chances of wound healing as well as increased levels of chronic conditions that predispose one to diabetes, ulcers, and anemia (Hamdy, 1997). These are myriads of damning conditions that are life threatening and may result in caregiver being another patient in the process of providing care to an AD patient.
Diminished emotional well-being: These problems are conditioned to emanate from psychological distress. Such conditions are significantly higher among caregivers of the dementia patient, and they overlap to family members taking care of AD patient too (Hamdy, 1997). Often, the caregivers experience psychological stress that results in various problems such as depression and anxiety requiring immediate attention.
Increased social isolation: family members who are devoted to caring for the well-being of a loved one suffering from AD condition normally have their schedule fully packed with various chores of ensuring the wellness of the patient, a scenario leading to social isolation and detachment from matters concerning social life (Hamdy, 1997). More often, the caregivers will sacrifice a greater part of their leisure time and hobbies, reducing time spent with friends and family. This typically results from less devotion even to work thus financial restraints sets in the family.
Ali, N. (2012). Understanding Alzheimer's: An introduction for patients and caregivers. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Hamdy, R. C. (1997). Alzheimer's disease: A handbook for caregivers. St. Louis: Mosby.
Light, E., & Lebowitz, B. (Eds.). (1990). Alzheimer's disease treatment and family stress: Directions for research. Taylor & Francis.
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