Alzheimer’s: the effect on the family
Alzheimer is a medical problem that can also be termed as a type of dementia. A patient who suffers from Alzheimer experiences problems in regard to his memory, thinking process, and behavior. This disease can be defined as a medical problem that is irreversible, and damages the brain gradually. It starts destroying the memory of a person and then eventually the patient starts experiencing problems in carrying out the activities related to his or her daily life. This is a problem that is caused especially in older people, the ones, who have crossed the age of 60.
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As mentioned above, this is one of the most common types of dementia that is caused in older people. Researchers have been working on the Alzheimer since 1906, when a doctor first examined the case of a woman who was thought to be dead due to some sort of mental illness. The common symptoms that were witnessed by the doctor in that lady included the problems related to memory loss, psychological and mental behavioral problems, problem in speaking and understanding what other people are saying, etc. after the death of this female patient, the doctors examined her brain and found that there were a lot of abnormal amyloidal clumps in her brain. Apart from this, a lot of entangled fibers were also found in the brain of this lady during examination. (Casado, 2012)
These two findings, i.e. the plaque as well as the tangles are considered to be the two main features that help in providing the description of the Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from this, the third factor that proved to be responsible for causing Alzheimer in the patient was the loss of contact between the neurons with each other in some or all the parts of the brain.
It has been seen that with the help of proper medication, the doctors have been successful in treating and controlling the symptoms of the Alzheimer. But till date there has been no cure that is discovered for treating the Alzheimer disease in a perfect manner.
The working of the brain under the influence of Alzheimer disease
Not many researches have proved to be successful in determining the exact details about the Alzheimer disease. The questions like how and when the process or Alzheimer begins in the brain is not known. It is generally believed that the symptoms are visible in the patients much later when the disease starts damaging the brain. The patients do not exibit the symptoms in this stage but there are a lot of toxic changes related to this disease that start taking place in the brain. The brain starts depositing a lot of protein in the brain and this protein eventually starts forming clots and tangles of fibers in the brain. When this quantity increases, it starts affecting the working of the neurons. This is exactly the situation when the neurons start dying and the signs of Alzheimer are visible in the patients. (Feldman, 2013)
The first place or part of the brain that gets affected by this entire process is known as hippocampus. This is that part of the brain that plays vital role in forming the memories in the brain. This region of the brain starts shrinking as soon as the neurons start dying. It is very difficult to identify Alzheimer in the initial stages. And eventually, when the patient goes and consults a doctor regarding his problems, it often gets too late. (Lim, 2011)
Statistics related to the Alzheimer
Talking in context to the United States, there are more than 5 million people who are known are the patients suffering from Alzheimer. Most of these people are in the age group of 65 and above. Since there is no exact and effective treatment for this disease, it is difficult to put a brake on the rising number of the patients. There are three stages that occur in Alzheimer, namely a preclinical stage, a mild cognitive stage and the final stage. This is not those types of disease which may cause death to the patients. But because it is caused in people with older age, Alzheimer mixes with other diseases and then may cause death in some years.
Living with the Alzheimer- the effect on the family
Since this medical problem and the number of patients suffering from it are constantly increasing, you may also witness that some person in your family supports from this problem. It is important to understand here that you are not the only one whose dear one is suffering from this problem. A lot of old people these days suffer from this medical problem. A lot of care and precautions need to be taken in order to help the patient live a proper life when he or she suffers from Alzheimer. Along with the patient, it is the patients family as well that has to deal with a lot of stress on a daily basis. It is not only the patient itself who lives with the Alzheimer disease, but it is his or her family members as well. (Elliott, 2010)
The family of the patients suffering from Alzheimer disease needs to be very supportive towards the patient. Most of the people, who suffer from this disease, are not able to handle or manage the tasks that need to be done on a regular basis. they need to mandatorily seek help from others in walking, sitting, standing, etc. since you are the care givers for the patient, it is important that you take care of all the unique needs of the patient. Some of the general tips that may prove to be helpful for you in the case you have to take care of patient suffering from Alzheimer disease are mentioned below-
- Set up a routine for the patient and make sure it is seriously followed
- Make sure that you help him do his works. Don’t just treat him as a person who cannot do anything on his own.
- Since the patient stays confused and feels weak all the time, taking care of his or her dietary habits is very important (Thies, 2013)
- Give healthy meals and drinks to the Alzheimer patients
- Serve food that the patient can eat by himself easily
- Keep in mind that the patient is an adult and not a child. He or she may have mood swings and therefore do not force him or her for anything that is against their wish
- The patients lose control over their brain and the thinking process. so it is important that someone is always around the patient in order to keep the patient safe
- Encourage the patient for regular exercising
- If the situation worsens, you can take him or her for counseling sessions
It is important for the caregivers that they take care of themselves as well. The family members of the patients suffer from the mental as well as physical trauma. It is important here that the caregivers are provided with constant support. Many people may think that it is unfair on their part to take care of someone who isn’t treating them right. It is important that the family members of the Alzheimer patient keep themselves patient and calm.
There has been a lot of advancement in the research related to the Alzheimer disease in the last few years. It should be remembered that the Alzheimer disease is one of the most serious problems that has been faced by the country presently. It is important that the scientists keep on working in this field and quickly find out a way in which they can treat the patients of the Alzheimer disease in order to make them perfectly healthy. Apart from this a lot of work in respect to the prevention of this medical problem also needs to be done in order to control the rise in the number of patients suffering from Alzheimer. (Theofilou, 2012)
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Taking from the point of view of the caregivers and the family member’s o the Alzheimer patients, it is important that they handle the patient with utmost care and affection. In cases when the family is not capable of handling the patient, they can take the help of care homes as well that are made in order to serve these patients.
Casado, B. &. (2012). Correlates of caregiver burden among family caregivers of older Korean Americans. Retrieved 5 6, 2014, from Casado, B., & Sacco, P. (2012). Correlates of caregiver burden among family caregivers of older Korean Americans. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 67(3), 331-336.
Elliott, A. F. (2010). Enhancing caregiver health: findings from the resources for enhancing Alzheimer’s caregiver health II intervention. . Retrieved 5 6, 2014, from Elliott, A. F., Burgio, L. D., & DeCoster, J. (2010). Enhancing caregiver health: findings from the resources for enhancing Alzheimer’s caregiver health II intervention. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58(1), 30-37.
Feldman, A. L. (2013). Familial Coaggregation of Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. . Retrieved 5 6, 2014, from Feldman, A. L., Johansson, A. L., Lambert, P. C., Sieurin, J., Yang, F., Pedersen, N. L., & Wirdefeldt, K. (2013). Familial Coaggregation of Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Neuroepidemiology, 42(2), 69-80.
Lim, J. G. (2011). Coping strategies influence caregiver outcomes among Asian family caregivers of persons with dementia in Singapore. . Retrieved 5 6, 2014, from Lim, J., Griva, K., Goh, J., Chionh, H. L., & Yap, P. (2011). Coping strategies influence caregiver outcomes among Asian family caregivers of persons with dementia in Singapore. Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders, 25(1), 34-41.
Theofilou, P. (2012). Evaluation of quality of life for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. . Retrieved 5 6, 2014, from Theofilou, P. (2012). Evaluation of quality of life for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. J Alzheimers Dis, 2(1).
Thies, W. &. (2013). 2013 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. . Retrieved 5 6, 2014, from Thies, W., & Bleiler, L. (2013). 2013 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Alzheimer’s & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, 9(2), 208-245.
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