Alzheimer's Disease and the Family Caregiver

By Walker, Diane | Aging Today, November/December 2010 | Go to article overview

Alzheimer's Disease and the Family Caregiver


Walker, Diane, Aging Today


Alzheimer's disease is progressive, incurable and fatal. As the condition worsens, it deteriorates the victim's brain cells, stripping away memories, devastating muscle function and leaving the afflicted person unaware of the world around them and alienated from their loved ones.

More than 5.3 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease. As the first wave of baby boomers turn age 65 next year, the number of those diagnosed will significantiy increase. By 2030, Alzheimer's is expected to impair more than 7.7 million Americans, and that number is set to reach more than 16 million by 2050.

Globally, more than 35 million have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and though experts agree the real number is much higher, the expectation is that these numbers will continue to grow rapidly. The strain this puts on society is sizable, every year directly costing governments, businesses and families across the globe more than $604 billion, or roughly 1% of the world's annual Gross Domestic Product.

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS!

The first step toward better understanding and finding treatment and preventive solutions to this disease is being able to understand its risk factors, the first and most significant being age. The chance of developing the associated symptoms doubles every five years after age 65. Data collected in the 2010 Shriver Report concludes that as many as 45% of elders will develop some form of dementia between the ages of 80 and 85 years old.

Genetics and lifestyle are also risk factors. Having a first-degree relative with Alzheimer's increases the risk of developing the disease, as does obesity, diabetes, hypertension, excessive drinking and high cholesterol. Finally, head injuries, especially those causing a loss of consciousness, have been proven to trigger the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms in people already at a heightened risk.

FAMILY SUFFERS TOO

Patients are not the only ones affected by the disease. Alzheimer's impacts more man 1 1 million family members, too, who not only suffer along with a patient who often no longer recognizes them, but who also provide meals, housekeeping and transportation, grooming and personal care. This underappreciated care accounts for more than 12.5 billion hours of unpaid work every year in the United States. Caregiving is a fulltime job, and can be especially hard when balancing professional, family, personal and caregiving responsibilities. Despite these challenges, many families still choose to assume die caregiving role to avoid a relative's institutionalization.

During my career as a homecare director and now educator at Griswold Special Care, I have seen how the duty of caregiving affects people's work performance, financial stability, health and relationships. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Alzheimer's Disease and the Family Caregiver
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.