A diagnosis of a family member having Alzheimer’s Disease can have a profound effect on the family. Some members may experience shock, get upset, or feel confused. However, other family members can jump right into a supportive role and be supportive and sympathetic to the plight of their loved one. 

As Alzheimer’s progresses, it can also create more conflict within the family. The family members of Alzheimer’s patients have been called “invisible second patients” because of the challenges they face with the dynamics of their relationship with the diagnosed family member. There is a ripple effect that affects every member of the family.

Primary caregivers within the family can experience the most profound effects. In addition to dealing with the normal activities of life, such as their family, career, and personal schedule, caregivers must also provide round-the-clock care and support for their loved one.

Being prepared and having a caregiving plan in place can help lessen or prevent those conflicts and provide your loved one with the best care possible.

The Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease on Family Caregivers

Family caregivers often become emotionally and physically overburdened. As a result, they often suffer high rates of emotional distress – including depression, financial hardship, physical illness, and social isolation. Let’s look briefly at each.

Diminished Emotional Well-Being

Levels of psychological distress are considerably higher for dementia caregivers, of which Alzheimer’s is a form of, than any other type of caregivers. High-stress levels often manifest themselves in mental health difficulties, including anxiety and depression, that should be treated immediately.

Increased Risk of Physical Illness

Caregivers experience a greater number of physical health problems and worse overall health than non-caregivers. They have an increased risk of:

  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Lower immunity
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Slower wound healing
  • Higher levels of chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, ulcers, and anemia

Increasing Social Isolation

Caregivers often experience a loss of social contact and support from friends and family, which causes feelings of isolation and loneliness. As a result, they often sacrifice their own hobbies and pursuits and sometimes will give up their employment to care for their loved ones.

Growing Financial Challenges

Costs associated with caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s can be quite high. Direct costs include diagnostic tests, physician care, and pharmaceuticals. Indirect costs can include loss of earnings by caregivers as they relinquish or reduce their hours of employment out of choice or necessity.

The Caregivers at Seniors Prefer Home Understand Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

We have helped many Alabama families in the greater Huntsville and Tuscaloosa areas by providing compassionate, professional home care for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia. We’re affordable, dependable, and reliable. You can count on us to be there for your family.

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