Alzheimer's disease family impact

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

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Overview

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.

Family Impact

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.[1] 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.[2][3][4] In developed countries, AD is one of the most economically costly diseases to society.[5][6]

Caregiving burden

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,[7] Alzheimer's disease is known for effecting a high burden on caregivers.[8]

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.[8]

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.[9]

References

  1. "The MetLife study of Alzheimer's disease: The caregiving experience" (PDF). MetLife Mature Market Institute. 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-12. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. Thompson CA, Spilsbury K, Hall J, Birks Y, Barnes C, Adamson J (2007). "Systematic review of information and support interventions for caregivers of people with dementia". BMC Geriatr. 7: 18. doi:10.1186/1471-2318-7-18. PMC 1951962. PMID 17662119.
  3. Schneider J, Murray J, Banerjee S, Mann A (1999). "EUROCARE: a cross-national study of co-resident spouse carers for people with Alzheimer's disease: I—Factors associated with carer burden". International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 14 (8): 651–661. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1166(199908)14:8<651::AID-GPS992>3.0.CO;2-B. PMID 10489656. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. Murray J, Schneider J, Banerjee S, Mann A (1999). "EUROCARE: a cross-national study of co-resident spouse carers for people with Alzheimer's disease: II--A qualitative analysis of the experience of caregiving". International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 14 (8): 662–667. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1166(199908)14:8<662::AID-GPS993>3.0.CO;2-4. PMID 10489657. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  5. Bonin-Guillaume S, Zekry D, Giacobini E, Gold G, Michel JP (2005). "Impact économique de la démence (English: The economical impact of dementia)". Presse Med (in French). 34 (1): 35–41. ISSN 0755-4982. PMID 15685097. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  6. Meek PD, McKeithan K, Schumock GT (1998). "Economic considerations in Alzheimer's disease". Pharmacotherapy. 18 (2 Pt 2): 68–73, discussion 79–82. PMID 9543467.
  7. O’Donovan ST. "Dementia caregiving burden and breakdown" (PDF). Forum of Consultant Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Selwood A, Johnston K, Katona C, Lyketsos C, Livingston G (2007). "Systematic review of the effect of psychological interventions on family caregivers of people with dementia". Journal of Affective Disorders. 101 (1–3): 75–89. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2006.10.025. PMID 17173977.
  9. "The MetLife Study of Alzheimer's Disease: The Caregiving Experience" (PDF). MetLife Mature Market Institute. August 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-12.

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