Advertisement

Social Issues of the Alzheimer’s Patient and Family

  • Lisa P. Gwyther
    Correspondence
    Address requests for reprints to Lisa P. Gwyther, MSW, Box 3600 Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      Families caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) soon discover that it is unlike any other illness. Coping with a degenerative brain disease is much different than dealing with a physical disability. AD is more disruptive to, and has greater impact on, the family than other chronic diseases. AD caregiving carries with it a high financial, social, and emotional price. Families must work toward effectively coping with the disease, decreasing the harmful effects on the family, and keeping family conflicts to a minimum. Support groups can provide families with much-needed information on the disease, emotional and practical support, and an expressive or advocacy outlet. Formal services can help relieve some of the burden of caring for an AD patient. Family members must remember that there is no “right” way to care for a person with AD, and each family must determine, with the help of the appropriate professionals and services, how to best meet its own needs. Given the burdens of care, however, even small interventions may translate into improvements in the quality of life or confidence of the caregiver.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to The American Journal of Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Small G.W.
        • Rabins P.V.
        • Barry P.P.
        • Buckholtz N.S.
        • Dekosky S.T.
        • Ferns S.H.
        • Finkel S.I.
        • Gwyther L.P.
        • Khachaturian Z.S.
        • Lebowitz B.P.
        • McRae T.D.
        • Morris J.C.
        • Oakley F.
        • Schneider L.S.
        • Streim J.E.
        • Sunderland T.
        • Teri L.A.
        • Ture L.E.
        Diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.
        JAMA. 1997; 278: 1363-1371
        • Welleford E.A.
        • Harkins S.W.
        • Taylor J.R.
        Personality changes in dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.
        Exp Aging Res. 1995; 21: 295-314
        • Fisher L.
        • Lieberman M.A.
        Alzheimer’s disease.
        Fam Process. 1994; 33: 305-325
      1. Exploding the Myths: Caregiving in America. Washington, DC: House Select Committee on Aging; 1987. US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare publication. Pub. No 99–611.

      2. Suzman RT. A World without Alzheimer’s Disease: a Dream within Reach. Chicago: Alzheimer’s Association, 1997.

        • Kaye J.
        • Robinson K.M.
        Spirituality among caregivers.
        Image J Nurs Sch. 1994; 26: 218-221
        • Bass D.M.
        • Noelker L.S.
        • Rechlin L.R.
        The moderating influence of service use on negative caregiving consequences.
        J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 1996; 51: S121-S131
        • Gwyther L.P.
        Service delivery and utilization.
        in: Light E. Niederehe G. Lebowitz B. Stress Effects on Family Caregivers and Alzheimer’s patients. Springer, New York1994: 293-300
        • Ganzer C.
        • England S.E.
        Alzheimer’s care and service utilization.
        Health Soc Work. 1994; 19: 171-174
        • Stone R.
        • Cafferata G.L.
        • Sangl J.
        Caregivers of the frail elderly.
        Gerontologist. 1987; 27: 616-626
        • Gwyther L.P.
        Care for families facing Alzheimer’s disease. Primary care practice implications from research.
        in: Khatchaturian Z.S. Radebaugh T.S. Alzheimer’s Disease: Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla1996: 323-331