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How Does Alzheimer’s Affect A Person’s Family

Disproportionate Impact On Women

How does Alzheimer’s affect the patient’s family?

Globally, dementia has a disproportionate impact on women. Sixty-five percent of total deaths due to dementia are women, and disability-adjusted life years due to dementia are roughly 60% higher in women than in men. Additionally, women provide the majority of informal care for people living with dementia, accounting for 70% of carer hours.

What Are Common Changes That May Affect Dynamics

Knowing which changes to expect and the effects of them can help you and your family to navigate the changes in dynamics better when the time comes. The following changes have been known to disrupt structure and impact families.

These feelings are normal and its important to realize that you are not alone in this. If you need help ask. Whether that means talking to friends and family, taking a break to do something for yourself, or asking family members to do a few things for you . . . anything can help.

Support For Family Caregivers Is Important For Their Well

Part of living well with Alzheimers is adjusting to your new normal and helping family and friends do the same. Adequate support resources are vital for the individual providing the majority of the care. Experts say that a safety net of support can actually reduce anxiety for caregivers by increasing the perception that resources are available to help handle the stressful situations.

Support can be found in many different forms, including the help of other family members and close friends, partnerships with health professionals, community resources and other useful tools such as support groups, respite care, help lines, online training assistance and outside professional care.

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When Youre Out In Public

Some caregivers carry a card that explains why the person with Alzheimers might say or do odd things. For example, the card could read, My family member has Alzheimers disease. He or she might say or do things that are unexpected. Thank you for your understanding.

The card allows you to let others know about the persons Alzheimers disease without the person hearing you. It also means you dont have to keep explaining things.

Inspiring Wellness Every Day At Lions Gate

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What Is Known About Caregiving For A Person With Alzheimers Disease Or Another Form Of Dementia

People with Alzheimers disease and related dementias are usually cared for by family members or friends. The majority of people with Alzheimers disease and related dementias are receiving care in their homes. Each year, more than 16 million Americans provide more than 17 billion hours of unpaid care for family and friends with Alzheimers disease and related dementias. In 2019, these caregivers will provide an estimated 18.5 billion hours of care. Approximately two-thirds of dementia caregivers are women, about one in three caregivers is age 65 or older, and approximately one-quarter of dementia caregivers are sandwich generation caregivers, meaning that they care not only for an aging parent, but also for children under age 18.

Caregivers of people with Alzheimers and related dementias provide care for a longer duration than caregivers of people with other types of conditions . Well over half of family caregivers of people with Alzheimers and related dementias provide care for four years or more. More than six in ten Alzheimers caregivers expect to continue having care responsibilities for the next 5 years compared with less than half of caregivers of people without dementia .

The demands of caregiving can limit a caregivers ability to take care of themselves. Family caregivers of people with Alzheimers and related dementias are at greater risk for anxiety, depression, and poorer quality of life than caregivers of people with other conditions.

How To Communicate With Someone With Dementia

If you have noticed that the person with dementia is withdrawing into themselves and starting fewer conversations, it can help to:

  • speak clearly and slowly, using short sentences
  • give them time to respond
  • give them simple choices avoid creating complicated choices or options
  • try not to patronise them or ridicule what they say
  • use other ways to communicate, such as rephrasing questions because they can’t answer in the way they used to

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So What Would New Drugs Do To Help

The dementia treatments currently available temporarily stabilise or improve a persons symptoms, helping them to maintain their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks for longer. This can make a big difference to someones quality of life but, unfortunately, current treatments dont work for everybody.

Our scientists are working hard to produce life-changing treatments that make real breakthroughs for the day-to-day lives of people with dementia.

One key measure of success for these treatments is to see whether they improve memory and thinking skills. But as this blog explains, its improvements in many aspects of day-to-day life that could have the biggest positive effect on a person with dementia and their family.

Symptomatic treatments, similar to those already available, could help make these improvements. But longer-term improvements in day-to-day life are more likely to come from transformational new treatments that can actually slow or stop the underlying diseases behind dementia, like Alzheimers, and protect the brain from damage.

For any new disease-modifying treatment to be approved for use in people, it would have to benefit a persons ability to carry out daily tasks in clinical trials through specialised tests.

The online tool will help you to understand what developing a treatment could mean for someone with dementia and their families.

Effects Of Dementia On Caregivers

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Caregivers face many obstacles as they balance caregiving with other demands, including child rearing, career, and relationships. They are at increased risk for burden, stress, depression, and a variety of other health complications. The effects on caregivers are diverse and complex, and there are many other factors that may exacerbate or ameliorate how caregivers react and feel as a result of their role. Numerous studies report that caring for a person with dementia is more stressful than caring for a person with a physical disability.,,

Two models of factors leading to caregiver stress are useful. In the Poulshock and Deimling model, dementia leads to a burden of care which can manifest as strain in a number of ways that can be exacerbated or ameliorated Pearlin and colleagues’ model of caregiver stress outlines four main areas that contribute to caregiver stress: the background context , the primary stressors of the illness , secondary role strains , and intrapsychic strains such as personality, competence, and role captivity of the caregiver ., In Campbell and colleagues’ review of the model, the strongest predictors of caregiver burden were sense of role captivity , caregiver overload , adverse life events outside of the caregiving role and relationship quality.

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Caregiving In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia

As Alzheimers or another dementia reaches the late stages, your loved one will likely require 24-hour care. They may be unable to walk or handle any personal care, have difficulty eating, be vulnerable to infections, and no longer able to express their needs. Problems with incontinence, mood, hallucinations, and delirium are also very common.

In your role as caregiver, youll likely be combining these new challenges with managing painful feelings of grief and loss and making difficult end-of-life decisions. You may even be experiencing relief that your loved ones long struggle is drawing to an end, or guilt that youve somehow failed as a caregiver. As at the other stages of your caregiving journey, its important to give yourself time to adjust, grieve your losses, and gain acceptance.

Since the caregiving demands are so extensive in the later stages, it may no longer be possible for you to provide the necessary care for your loved one alone. If the patient needs total support for routine activities such as bathing, dressing, or turning, you may not be strong enough to handle them on your own. Or you may feel that youre unable to ease their pain or make them as comfortable youd like. In such cases, you may want to consider moving them to a care facility such as a nursing home, where they can receive high levels of both custodial and medical care.

Connecting in the late stages of care

Keep Family Members Informed

This can be done in different ways. You can call and talk to people individually or you can write a family newsletter. Copy the letter and send it to different members of the family so you donât have to rewrite the same information to each one. Just remember, if you keep the lines of communication with your family and friends open, they will be able to understand more easily what you and your family member are going through. The better they understand, the more willing theyâll be to pitch in and help.

Caregiving isnât easy, and itâs important to make sure your aging family member does not take up all your energy. Make sure you find ways to pull together as a family and work together for everyoneâs benefit.

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Reaching Out For Help

Unicity Healthcare is licensed as a Healthcare Service Firm by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs . As experts in the homecare field, we understand that no two clients are the same, and, as such, we develop an individualized service plan, incorporating all aspects of the persons life and family. The steps involved in this process is vital in creating the Unicity Homecareapproach, one that stresses personalization, dedication and quality care.

Unicity Healthcare provides non-medical and medical homecare services to our clients. Our services are customized and range from a few hours per day to 24/7 . Our licensed, trained and experienced Home Health Aides can assist you or your loved one with maintaining a daily routine, from bathing, eating, socializing, or simply going for a walk outside.

Our mission is to help our clients stay in their familiar surroundings, remain independent and live an active, healthy, and happy life. All our services are provided by licensed aides , and supervised by a Registered Nurse, who, in collaboration with the client and his/her family, develops a customized plan of care. We also keep our clients families updated regularly on the situation of their loved ones, and we provide guidance when necessary.

Telling People About Your Dementia Diagnosis

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Communication is an important part of any relationship. When you’re ready, tell others about your diagnosis.

It’s also good to tell them what you may have trouble with, such as following a conversation or remembering what was said.

You may find that some people treat you differently than they did before.

This may be because they don’t understand what dementia is or are afraid of the effect on your relationship.

Try to explain what your diagnosis means and the ways in which family and friends can help and support you.

The health or social care professional who helped with your care plan, your GP or a dementia support worker at your local Alzheimer’s Society can help with this if you’d like them to.

Let your friends and family know that you’re still you, even though you have dementia.

Tell them you’re still able to enjoy the activities you did before diagnosis, though some may take longer than they used to.

Read more about activities for dementia.

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Senior Memory Care At Living Branches

At Living Branches retirement communities, we offer compassionate, professional memory care programs for individuals with Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia. If youd like to know more about a safe, welcoming home as a transition for your loved one, contact us today or give a call us at 368-4438. We will be happy to answer your questions and determine the best community and memory care plan that aligns with your loved ones specific needs.

Planning For The Future: Tips For Caregivers

Making health care decisions for someone who is no longer able to do so can be overwhelming. Thats why it is important to plan health care directives in advance. To help plan for the future, you can:

  • Start discussions early with your loved one so they can be involved in the decision-making process.
  • Get permission in advance to talk to the doctor or lawyer of the person youre caring for, as needed. There may be questions about care, a bill, or a health insurance claim. Without consent, you may not be able to get needed information.
  • Consider legal and financial matters, options for in-home care, long-term care, and funeral and burial arrangements.

Learning about your loved ones disease will help you know what to expect as the dementia progresses and what you can do.

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How To Cope With Your Disease

After adjusting to the new diagnosis and preparing for the future, you can focus on living and coping with the disease. In this section, youll find:

  • A checklist of steps to take to improve the Alzheimer patients home and personal safety.
  • News on recreation and quality of life and how physical and mental activities can enhance everyday life
  • A look at family and relationships and the challenges, emotions, and commitments family members will encounter
  • A reminder on employment and income to check with your current employer for eligibility under federal and state plans or benefits programs
  • A list of helpful resources including the organizations, people, and services that may help you build a support network

Dont Neglect Your Own Needs

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By always focusing so diligently on your loved ones needs throughout the progression of their dementia, its easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your own welfare. If youre not getting the physical and emotional support you need, you wont be able to provide the best level of care, and youre more likely to become overwhelmed and suffer burnout.

Plan for your own care. Visit your doctor for regular checkups and pay attention to the signs and symptoms of excessive stress. Its easy to abandon the people and activities you love when youre mired in caregiving, but you risk your health and peace of mind by doing so. Take time away from caregiving to maintain friendships, social contacts, and professional networks, and pursue the hobbies and interests that bring you joy.

Caregiver support

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Changes In Family Relationships

The effects of Alzheimers disease arent only felt by the immediate family members of an individual, but by extended family and close friends as well. Family members who dont see the loved one regularly might not understand how seriously the disease has impacted them. Some family members may shy away from the loved one and their caregiver because they are unsure of what to say or how to act.

According to the Alzheimers Association, the best thing a caregiver can do to involve their family in their loved ones life is to take the initiative to talk to them, teaching them how the disease has changed their lives, sharing updates on their loved ones health and asking for help when its needed.

What Will The Doctor Do

It can be hard for a doctor to diagnose Alzheimer disease because many of its symptoms can be like those of other conditions affecting the brain. The doctor will talk to the patient, find out about any medical problems the person has, and will examine him or her.

The doctor can ask the person questions or have the person take a written test to see how well his or her memory is working. Doctors also can use medical tests to take a detailed picture of the brain. They can study these images and look for signs of Alzheimer disease.

When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer disease, the doctor may prescribe medicine to help with memory and thinking. The doctor also might give the person medicine for other problems, such as depression . Unfortunately, the medicines that the doctors have can’t cure Alzheimer disease they just help slow it down.

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Can Alzheimer Dementia Be Prevented Or Avoided

No one knows how to prevent or avoid Alzheimer Dementia. However, doctors believe that healthy living and keeping your brain active can help lower your risk. Or it may delay its onset. That means eating a healthy diet, lowering your alcohol consumption, not smoking, staying physically and socially active, and challenging your mental abilities with brain games.

Screening may be valuable in early detection for many diseases. However, the American Academy of Family Physicians states that there is not enough current evidence to show that routine screening for cognitive impairment is helpful.


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