Alzheimer's disease family impact
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Because Alzheimer's disease has no definitive treatment, management of patients is essential as the disease progresses. The role of the main caregiver is often taken by a spouse or a close relative.
Because AD has no definitive treatment, management of patients is essential as the disease progresses. The role of the main caregiver is often taken by a spouse or a close relative. Alzheimer's disease is known for placing a great burden on caregivers; the pressures can be wide-ranging, affecting social, psychological, physical, and economic components of the caregiver's life. In developed countries, AD is one of the most economically costly diseases to society.
The role of family caregivers has become more prominent in both reducing the social cost of care and improving the quality of life of the patient. Home-based care also can have economic, emotional, and psychological costs to the patient's family. Although family members in particular often express the desire to care for the sufferer to the end, Alzheimer's disease is known for effecting a high burden on caregivers.
Alzheimer's disease can incur a variety of stresses on the caregivers: typical complaints are stress, depression, and an inability to cope. Reasons for these complaints can include: high-demands on the caregiver's concentration, as Alzheimer's sufferers have a decreasing regard for their own safety (and can wander when unattended, for example); the lack of gratitude received when the sufferer is unaware of the help being given; and the lack of satisfaction when the sufferer's condition does not abate. Alzheimer's sufferers can be verbally and physically aggressive, and can stubbornly refuse to be helped. Aggression in particular can lead to a temptation to retaliate, which can put both the sufferer and carer at risk. It is additionally stressful for caregivers who are friends and family to witness a sufferer lose his or her identity, and eventually be unable to recognise them.
Family caregivers often give up time from work and forego pay to spend 47 hours per week on average with the person with AD. From a 2006 survey of US patients with long term care insurance, direct and indirect costs of caring for an Alzheimer's patient average $77,500 per year.
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