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The Effects Of Alzheimers Disease On The Caregiver


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The Effects Of Alzheimers Disease On The Caregiver

  1. 1. Candice W. Rasheed Argosy University
  2. 2. » Abstract» This paper investigates existing articles that report findings on the effects of Alzheimer’s disease oncaregivers. It provides known disadvantages as well as caregiver training methods; the articles differ incaregiver challenges. Howcroft (2004) found that caregivers experience a great deal of burden upon acceptingthis responsibility. Morano (2003) found that caregivers experienced decreased life satisfaction. Sanders &Adams (2003) found that a significant number of caregivers experience high levels of grief. Alternatively;Hayslip, Han, & Anderson, (2008) found that caregivers who “received social support from others reportedless depression and somatic anxiety and more life satisfaction. This paper provides data on the topic that willstrengthen the existing data. The data provided in this paper will inform caregivers about the knowndisadvantages of accepting a caregiver role. Educating the caregiver prior to accepting a caregiver role will bebeneficial to the caregiver and their family in that they are prepared for the possible drawbacks the role couldcause.
  3. 3. » Alzheimers disease has devastating effects on patients suffering with the disease. The topic that is lesslikely to come up in discussion is the affect of Alzheimers disease on caregivers. Caregivers are thecaretakers of patients suffering with this disease, and can range from hospital facilities to family members.The area that I will focus on is the effects of Alzheimers disease on caregivers, more specifically, familymembers that are caregivers.» Alzheimers disease is a degenerative disease that affects the Central Nervous System. Thedisease is a slow progression of death in brain function. Since the progression of the disease is slow, anindividual may not notice any sudden change in himself or herself or a family member. In the earlystage, symptoms are passed off as an indication of aging. Aging is the natural response, as the common age ofonset is sixty. However, there are rare cases where onset is between the ages of forty and fifty. In the laterstage of Alzheimers disease, individuals begin to experience worsened symptoms ranging from memory lossto the ability to control bodily functions.
  4. 4. The majority of the published research on the topic focuseson four main areas of concern for caregivers ofAlzheimer’s patients.» Stress» Sleep problems» Grief» Depression
  5. 5. Literature Review
  6. 6. » Howcroft (2004) examined the challenges caregivers face when caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Howcroft found that caregivers experience a great deal of burden when faced with providing care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. “The role of the caregiver can be detrimental to the physical, mental and financial health of a caregiver (Howcroft, 2004)”.
  7. 7. » Morano (2003), found that decreased life satisfaction on the part ofthe caregiver can induce feelings of stress and depression. According toMorano introducing an intervention on the on the part of the caregivermay increase life satisfaction as well as “empower the caregiver, andimprove their physical wellbeing (Morano, 2003)”.
  8. 8. » Sanders & Adams (2003) found that a significant number of caregivers experience high levels of grief. According to Sanders & Adams, “Grief is a significant predictor of increased depressive symptoms (Sanders & Adams, 2003)”. More importantly, symptoms of grief are often mistaken for symptoms of depression. (Sanders & Adams, 2003) Additionally, the stages of grief are intertwined with the stages of the disease; feelings of grief are more intense during the middle stages of the disease where the patient no longer recognizes the caregiver. (Sanders & Adams, 2003)
  9. 9. » Hayslip, Han, & Anderson, (2008) found that caregivers who “received socialsupport from others reported less depression and somatic anxiety and more lifesatisfaction than those who perceived less social support (Hayslip, Han, & Anderson2008)”. Additionally, it was noted that introverted individuals in the role of caregiverexperienced more depression symptoms than their counter part, an extrovertedindividuals in the role of caregiver. (Hayslip, Han, & Anderson 2008) Which indicatesthat being vocal about issues and concerns is beneficial for caregivers.
  10. 10. » Sleep problems may be a result of grief, depression, stress, or concern about thepatient leaving the home while the caregiver is sleeping. A study conducted by Journalof Nursing Scholarship, (2010) explores the idea that implementing a monitoring devicein the home of the caregiver may relieve stress, and allow the caregiver to achieve longersleep periods without waking. The study found that the implementation of themonitoring device did not produce any significant change in the caregiver’s sleep habits.The study also concluded that the caregiver’s sleep problems were likely due to otherfactors in the caregiver’s life.
  11. 11. Conclusion
  12. 12. » In conclusion, the research indicates that caregivers face several disadvantages including sleepproblems, stress, depression and grief. Counseling and interventions can benefit caregivers in thatthey may provide productive methods that may increase the overall life satisfaction of the caregiver. Itis important that the caregiver receives training courses prior to entering into a caregiver role; trainingcourses will educate the caregiver on potential issues involved with the perspective role.» The research reviewed in this paper can benefit the known data on the topic because itprovides methods to improve the life of caregivers and their family members. It also providesexamples of known disadvantages of accepting a caregiver role. I think it would be most beneficial toa prospective caregiver and an Alzheimer’s patient if the caregiver were to evaluate their current lifeversus that of adding the care of an individual with Alzheimer’s disease. They may find that theoutcome is not conducive to their current style of living and concede to allowing a more appropriatemember of the family to take on the responsibility of caregiver to ensure the proper care for theindividual with the disease.
  13. 13. »References
  14. 14. » Akpınar, B., Küçükgüçlü, Ö., & Yener, G. (2011). Effects of gender on burden among caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 43(3), 248-254.» Chiung-Yu Huang; Sousa, V. D., Shao-Jen Perng, Mei-Yi Hwang, Chun-Ching Tsai, Mei-Huang Huang, & Shu-Ying Yao. (2009). Stressors, social support, depressive symptoms and general health status of Taiwanese caregivers of persons with stroke or Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 8 (4), 502-511.» Hayslip, B., Han, G., & Anderson, C. L. (2008). Predictors of Alzheimers disease caregiver depression and burden: What non-caregiving adults can learn from active caregivers. Educational Gerontology, 34 (11), 945-969.» Howcroft, D. (2004). Alzheimers disease: Caring for the carers. Mental Health Practice, 7 (8), 31-37.» Morano, C. L. (2003). Appraisal and coping: Moderators or mediators of stress in Alzheimers disease caregivers? Social Work Research, 27(2), 116.» Sanders, S., & Adams, K. B. (2005). Grief reactions and depression in caregivers of individuals with Alzheimers disease: Results from a pilot study in an urban setting. Health & Social Work, 30(4), 287-295.» Sanders, S., Ott, C. H., Kelber, S. T., & Noonan, P. (2008). The experience of high levels of grief in caregivers of persons with Alzheimers disease and related dementia. Death Studies, 32(6), 495-523
  15. 15. » Skinner, K. (2009). Nursing interventions to assist in decreasing stress in caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. ABNF Journal, 20(1), 22-24.» Sørensen, L. V., Waldorff, F. B., & Waldemar, G. (2008). Early counselling and support for patients with mild Alzheimers disease and their caregivers: A qualitative study on outcome. Aging & Mental Health, 12(4), 444-450.» Vellone, E., Piras, G., Talucci, C., Cohen, M. Z. (2008). Quality of life for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 61(2), 222-231.