Family Support for Patients With Alzheimers
Family support for patients with Alzheimer’s disease is an important aspect of care for both the patient and the family. Families often become stressed by the intense physical needs of the patient as well as the emotional stress of watching their loved one deteriorate over time. With the help of support for the providers patients are often able to stay in a familiar environment for as long as family is able to provide care.
There are several ways for families to find support when they are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. One of the possibilities is to enlist the aid of a support group. Many of these groups meet bimonthly or monthly for several hours. They are often small groups designed to answer questions, provide additional information or education and enable families of patients to find support from each other.
Some groups are designed around brainstorming answers to questions or functional concerns such as how to integrate house keeping, care of the children while still caring for their loved one with Alzheimers. Caregivers often find stress when trying to juggle the supervision required for older adults who are disoriented and may have physical disabilities with the care of their own children involved in school activities.
Support groups are able to help families find good caregivers and other support mechanisms to assist in the day to day activities. They are also able to provide their own brand of support because they have been there, done that.
There is family support for patients with Alzheime’rs that is based on the stage of Alzheimers in which the patient is currently experiencing. Each stage has its own challenges and groups that provide support and education about the particular stage that the family and patient are suffering through.
Treatment support is also available for families to help them get their questions answered about medications, co-morbid medical questions and the potential for inclusion in experimental groups testing medications and other therapies. Only through continued research on the progression and causative agents of Alzheimers will the treatment of the disease come closer to successfully achieving the desired goal the ability of the patient to continue to interact appropriately with their environment without the disorientation and mental confusion that accompanies the disease.
Family support for patients with Alzheimer’s disease will often help to reduce the depression that accompanies the care of patients who are slowly and inextricably losing their minds. This support will also help to prolong the time that the sufferer will be able to live in their homes before they are institutionalized.
Families also find that individual attention to the details of their life by a counselor will help to ease the tension and psychological stresses that they endure each day caring for their loved one. Research studies published in 2006 found that families enrolled in a program that provided them with individualized attention had a decrease in their depression while those who received the usual services had a gradual increase in their depressive symptoms.
Families who don’t receive support are at even greater risk of the side effects of psychological distress and depression. With the added family support for patients with Alzheimers disease the cost savings each year can amount to close to $90,000.00 per year per family. These cost savings are translated into delayed need for nursing home care and decreased amount of institutionalization.
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