5,3 million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2017. Out of the 5,3 million people affected by the disease, 5,1 million were 65 years old or older, and two thirds were women. As the disease affects a lot of people, it is important to know how Alzheimer’s affects the patients and their caregivers.
According to a study, when people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they feel isolated from the rest of the people. Even though they might not recognize them, the patients say that they want their loved ones to continue to visit them. Experts advise people to visit the Alzheimer patients more often, to decrease their level of isolation. The happiness, comfort and familiarity provided by these visits could help the patients emotionally. The feeling of isolation is heightened by the fact that they can’t do the activities they used to do before they were diagnosed.
Alzheimer’s patients can develop confrontational or aggressive behavior at times. This type of behavior can be caused by the loss of the cognitive function. This makes it sometimes almost impossible for them to clearly say why they feel like they do and so they resort to aggressive behavior instead. They also have a lot of mood changes, caused by environmental factors or lack of communication.
As Alzheimer’s develops, the patients lose their memories and become very confused. Also, they feel a major desire to go home. They are often helped to overcome their confusion by using photographs or other objects that are part of their memories.
One of the biggest problems the caregivers face is the personality change in the people they care about. They also find it difficult to remind themselves that when they become physically or verbally aggressive, the disease is acting out, not the patient. They also become stressed and don’t have the patience of being asked the same questions over and over again.
The caregivers can also lose or gain a lot of weight, become depressed or anxious. About 40% of the people who take care of Alzheimer patients suffer from depression. They can have sleeping problems and at the end of every day be emotionally and physically exhausted. These are only some of the problems the caregivers face, but it reveals that their lives change a lot as well.
By 2025, the number of Americans that will suffer from the disease is estimated to be 7,1 million, with a 40% increase in ten years. In 2050, 13,8 million Americans could be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. After we have seen how Alzheimer’s affects the patients and their caregivers and the concerning future numbers, we can only hope that scientists will find a cure soon.
Image Source: www.upload.wikimedia.org