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Barbara Warren
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Barbara Warren   My Press Releases

SUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS WITH FAMILY MEMBERS SUFFERING FROM ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

Published on 6/25/2017
For additional information  Click Here

The goal of this mornings’ presentation is to provide information for family members and caregivers to obtain support while taking care of patients with AD (Alzheimer’s disease).  The objective of my presentation is for you to understand the definition of Alzheimer’s disease, the pathophysiology of what causes AD, learn what types of individuals are at risk for AD, treatment modalities for AD, differentiate between the stages of dementia, and how to deal with problem behavior.

 

The information that will be provided is:

            *Diagnosing AD

            * Treating AD

            * Causes of AD

            * Symptoms of AD

            * Help for the Caregiver

Pamphlets on AD will be given out to the audience and was obtained from the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Disease Research, a program of the American Health Assistance Foundation.

Alzheimer’s disease was discovered in 1906 by a German scientist named Alois Alzheimer.  AD is a disease of the brain which is a progressive worsening and debilitating dementia that affects the mind and the intellect.  Alzheimer’s and other dementing diseases are not caused simply by old age itself.  About five percent of Americans over the age of sixty-five have Alzheimer’s.  Dementia is most common among very old persons.  Family history is a risk factor.  Scientists believe that genetics may play a role in many AD cases.  A rare form of AD that usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 60 is inherited.  The more common form of AD is known as late onset.  It occurs later in life, and no obvious inheritance pattern is noticed (Alzheimer’s disease Education and referral center: Alzheimer’s disease fact sheet 2003; http://adear.niapublication.org/pubs/adfact.html, 12 Oct 2004).

A gene called apolipoprotein E (apoE) is identified for the late-onset of Alzheimer’s.  Everyone has apoE, which helps carry cholesterol in the blood.  What has been discovered that as cells begin to slough of the brain, they do not disappear or absorb into the brain tissue.  They accumulate on the neurons of the cell fibers, causing a thickening and plaque like substance to form.  Ten percent of people over 65 years of age and 50 % of those over 85 years of age have Alzheimer’s disease.  Most patients develop Alzheimer’s disease after age 70.  As stated previously 2% -5% of patients develop the disease in their 40s or 50s.  At least half of these early onset patients have inherited the gene mutation.  The children of patients with early onset Alzheimer’s who has one of these gene mutations has a 50% risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  Other risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease include hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol.  All patients with Down syndrome will develop the brain change of Alzheimer’s disease by 40 years of age (Evans, D. A., Funkenstein, H., Albert, M. S., Scherr, P.A., Cook, N. R., Chown, M. J., Hebert, L. E., Hennekens, C. H.,& Taylor, J. O. (1989). The prevalence of Alzheimer's disease in a community population of older persons. Journal of the American Medical Association, 262, 2551-2556).

No treatment has been discovered to stop AD.  However, there are some drugs that can be used during early and middle stages of the disease.  Certain drugs such as Tacine (cognex), donepezil (Aricept), and rivastigmine (exclon) just to name a few may help to prevent some symptoms from becoming worse for a limited time.  Research has shown that vitamin E slows the progress of some consequences of AD by about 7 months.  These medications are designed to enhance memory and other cognitive functions by influencing certain chemical activities in the brain.  Please note that these drug treatments are designed to treat only the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and stimulate certain chemicals to keep that brain functioning at the highest level possible.  After a certain point in the progression of this disease, the medications are often no longer effective (Glickstein, J. K. (1988). Therapeutic interventions inAlzheimer's disease. Rockville, Maryland: Aspen Publishers, Inc.

There are three basic stages of AD:

Early stage – memory loss and confusion is mild becoming progressively worse

Middle stage – the middle stage consist memory loss and confusion worsens and is exacerbated with increased anxiety, paranoia, and delusions with a high risk of wandering.  This is often the longest stage lasting 7 years or longer. 

Late stage -  this is the final stage which consists of bodily functions shut down, little or no ability to communicate basic needs, person becomes bedridden and needs continuous care which usually lasts about 1 to 3 years.

            My next topic of discussion of this presentation is how to manage difficult behavior.  It is important for you to understand why persons with dementia are behaving in a particular manner.  If you, the caregiver can determine what is causing the behavior, it may be possible to figure out ways to prevent the behaviors from occurring again.  There are several causes for a person’s behavior, from environment, the task at hand and communication.  Listed below are several causes for a person’s behavior:

  • Excessive stimulations: when there is too much noise going on, it is very distracting to these individuals as with music, conversations noise, they tend to become very angry and agitated easily.
  • Little information: as people with dementia become more confused, the person will rely heavily on help from caregivers.  People with dementia may not even be able to find the restroom as all doors look alike to them.
  • Poor senses: as people grow older, people may lose their ability to see and/or hear well.
  • Unfamiliar environment: please keep in mind that people who are first admitted to a nursing facility are unfamiliar with the facility routines, and behaviors will generally occur.  People with dementia are real good at picking up on negative body language.

There are several things to remember when dealing with problem behavior:

  • All behavior has meaning
  • All behavior has a cause
  • Everything surrounding a person could contribute to the behavior
  • Understand the changes that occur with AD
  • Distract when possible
  • Keep things very simple
  • Realize that behaviors are part of the disease
  • Know your people well. If you are having a difficult time with a particular behavior, ask the family if they have seen this same behavior

 

The final topic of my presentation is providing information to receive help for the family members or caregiver caring for someone with AD.  Caring for an AD patient can be very exhausting.  Keep in mind that the families need emotional support.  Encourage the family to get involved in a support group and still participate in the things they like to do most.  From a healthcare perspective, keeping those involved in learning more about AD and how to deal with the behavior of AD patients will be beneficial in providing optimal care to the patient.  Research has found that support group members perceive significantly greater benefits in such areas as knowledge about AD, the ability to cope with the AD patient, and getting help in solving a problem with that relative (Gage & Kinney, 1995). Specifically, the more active members showed significantly higher scores on such items as feeling more helpful and responsible, perceiving their services as relevant to the individuals with AD and their families, and obtaining a greater amount of knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease (Gage & Kinney, 1995).

 

References

Alzheimer’s Disease Education & Referral Center. “Alzheimer’s disease fact sheet.”

  1. http://adear.niapublications.org/pubs/adfact.html (12 Oct 2004).

Evans, D.A., Funkenstein, H., Albert, M.S., Scherr, P. A., Cook, N.R., Chown, M.J.,

            Herbert, L.E., Hennekens, C.H., & Taylor, J.O. (1998).  The prevalence of

            Alzheimer’s disease in a community population of older persons.  Journal of the

            American Medical Association, 262, 2551-2556.

Glickstein, J.K. (1998).  Therapeutic interventions in Alzheimer’s disease.  Rockville,

            Maryland:  Aspen Publishers, Inc.

Gage, M.J., & Kinney, J.M. (1995).  They aren’t for everyone:  The impact of support

            Group participation on caregiver’s well-being.  Clinical Gerontologist, 16 (2),

            21-34.

 

 

I hope this PR will help you understand the difficult roads one faces with a family member suffers from Alzheimer's.  Thank you for taking the time to read my PR.

Member Note: To comment on this PR, simply click reply on the owners main post below.
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