Alzheimers And Its Effect On A Family

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate June 2001

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Alzheimer's Disease and how it effects the Family Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia, or disorders that result in the decline of intellectual functions such as remembering, reasoning, and abstract thinking. It is a difficult time for family as well as the patient. Your actions toward the patient could weaken or improve the stages of the disease. This disease affects more than 161000 Canadians over the age of sixty-five. The elderly are a growing concern for the future because of lack of healthcare, which Alzheimer's is a huge part of. You have to be able to deal with the disease of the family member, yourself, and your attitude toward it.

Through extensive research it becomes clear that Alzheimer's disease affects, the family in a fundamental way. Every family member will have many adjustments. It is a stressful time for everyone involved. However, it will undoubtedly bring the family unit closer together.

As many as seven stages have been identified by medical practitioners and researchers. It is commonly accepted however, that four stages adequately reflect the disease progression. Keep in mind that the stages are only a rough guide and that a person does not move smoothly from one stage to another. Each situation is unique.

Stage 1 - Incidents of forgetfulness are often difficult to distinguish from normal forgetfulness - Denial by the person and/or family may occur - One or two particularly unusual events alert the family that something may be wrong - Difficult to pinpoint the problem and get an accurate diagnosis Stage 2 - Memory deteriorates ie. Recent memory is lost - Language deteriorates ie. Trouble recalling words and expressing thoughts - Ability to do simple calculations lost ie. Cheque book - Agitation increases eg. Constant pacing, repetitive behavior, wandering - Sleep disturbances occur eg. Wandering...