Impact of Alzheimer's Disease on Caregivers in the United States.
Ocala Regional Medical Center
Anxiety, Caregiver, Dementia, Depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, Memory, Memory Loss, Mental Health, Neurodegeneration, Stress
Emergency Medicine | Nervous System Diseases | Psychiatry and Psychology
Background/Objective: First discovered by Alois Alzheimer in 1906, Alzheimer's disease (AD) has become a growing global health concern with numerous implications for individuals and modern society. As patients' symptoms of dementia continue to worsen, they gradually grow more limited in their independence. As a result, family members and close acquaintances often become caregivers for the patient and become more involved in maintaining the patient's lifestyle. The authors of this research sought to study what motivates caregivers to look after AD patients and the impact of AD on their lifestyles and physical, mental, and social health.
Methods: The authors crafted a survey of fourteen questions and collected data from 200 caregivers regarding AD's impact on their physical, emotional, and social health along with their key demographic and background information (e.g. whether or not they are a caregiver for a patient with AD).
Results: The results indicate that most AD caregivers are family members (78%). AD often strains the caregiver's relationship with the patient (47.5%), and 58% of participating caregivers report extreme stress levels while 65% realize it is incredibly difficult to take care of a patient. Because of the increased levels of stress, 47% of participating caregivers sleep less; 43% feel more isolated from their family; and, 35.5% did not try to get help from others. Love and a strong sense of duty seem to be the primary motivation for caregivers to take care of a patient. Worry for the patient (50%), financial worries (12.5%), lack of medical experience (10.5%), and their own health (10.5%) seem to be the primary stressors for caregivers. Caregivers rely on numerous support systems and coping mechanisms, with physical activity (54.5%) and increased alcohol and marijuana usage (35.5%) the most frequent.
Conclusions: Although caregivers have support systems and found coping methods that would alleviate their burden of caring for a patient with AD, the clear negative impact AD has on caregivers affects their physical, mental, and social health. As there is currently no cure for AD, compassion and greater support for caregivers are necessary.
Publisher or Conference
Health Psychology Research
Vu M, Mangal R, Stead T, Lopez-Ortiz C, Ganti L. Impact of Alzheimer's Disease on Caregivers in the United States. Health Psychol Res. 2022;10(3):37454. doi:10.52965/001c.37454