Date of Award
Master of Arts
Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive, irreversible disease of the brain. It is not a normal or inevitable result of the aging process. However, as more people live to advanced age, the susceptible population will increase, as will the number of people afflicted with this disease. Alzheimer's Disease presents a challenge by taking away the patient's ability to remember, as well as the ability to learn.
Alzheimer's Disease has been characterized by many professionals as "the thief of minds" (Gewertz 23). Memories of life experiences and even one's own family members fade away leaving the person a stranger to those who love him or her. Many families try to keep their family member at home as long as possible. This can be done if necessary issues are addressed and training provided. Being the caregiver of an Alzheimer's Disease patient is not easy, because this disease does not just affect the patient. The family is affected emotionally, physically, and financially, due to the totality of Alzheimer's Disease effects on its victims. The ongoing need for family caregiving often means a complete revamping of usual family activities, because the task is increasingly complex and demanding. Family members find their normal roles are disrupted. All members need time to express their feelings and to learn how to cope with these changes. Clearly, these families need support.
With education about the disease and ways to cope, the burden of caregiving can be lifted slightly. The more caregivers know about the nature of dementing illness, the more effective they will be in devising strategies to manage behavior problems. To promote the least-restrictive living environment and to normalize living arrangements and care as much as possible, adequate support systems between home and institutional care must be developed (Briar and Kaplan 1).
This culminating project will be designed to educate caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders about the disease, ways to cope with the disease, and other issues affecting their efforts. This training manual will be an effort to reach out to the community. Those caregivers that need support, but have never had the opportunity to participate in an education program will now have a place to turn. Training models already being used will be introduced and examined. It is hoped that this project can be utilized by health professionals and non-professionals as a tool when working with caregivers. The researcher will be surveying caregivers and fellow health care workers to determine the scope of the training manual to follow.
Demers, Lesli, "Caregiver Education Program" (1992). Theses. 649.
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