In many of the books about caregiving, the primary caregiver is often called the “hidden victim” of Alzheimer’s disease, because this physical effort often results in exhaustion, sleeplessness, or even physical injury. Because of our family’s experiences and those of other family caregivers I met, I found that the emotional stress experienced by young children and teenagers who live in the same home with an impaired parent or grandparent, makes them the real “hidden victims” of Alzheimer’s disease.
Children and teenagers living with an Alzheimer’s disease victim are often dealing with complex emotions. In my conversations with them, I have found that nearly all of these children and teenagers feel fear. They are afraid of what their impaired relative may do, and even more afraid that they or their parents will also become Alzheimer’s victims. This fear is often coupled with anger, resentment, tension, and anxiety.
Anger is a common response from older children in caregiving families. This is especially true for teenagers, who may feel resentful that their homes are no longer their own. They may feel a loss of privacy, or that they can no longer invite friends over to their homes because they