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Alzheimer's Disease Caregivers Overwhelmed and Stressed, Does Anyone Care?

Posted Oct 24 2010 3:53pm
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

I often wonder if the families and friends of Alzheimer's caregivers understand how worried, overwhelmed and stressed a caregiver can be?

This week on ABC Maria Shriver said that women tell her that "no one understands"; and that, on a scale of one to five caregivers rate their stress level -- 5.

If I was to decide on the answer to the questions above based on the emails I receive, and the comments on this blog I would have to answer resounding No. No, many families and friends don't understand how worried, overwhelmed, and stressed Alzheimer's caregivers feel.

Now I am wondering what percentage of families and friends do understand? And, what percentage don't understand.

I would rate this more on what I would refer to as -- the actions speak louder than words scale.

A recent survey of 524 non-professional caregivers, which was conducted by Harris Interactive in September 2010 for Eisai Inc. and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) in partnership with the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA), provides insight into the current state of affairs. in other words, how Alzheimer's disease caregivers think and feel.

  • 60 percent of Alzheimer's disease caregivers surveyed said they feel overwhelmed
  • 55 percent of Alzheimer's disease caregivers surveyed said caring for their loved one has taken a toll on their own health
  • Women surveyed were more likely to worry "all the time" compared to men [13 percent versus 3 percent]. 
  • Women were less likely than men to feel that they have enough support to take care of themselves and their own needs [60 percent versus 76 percent]
  • The three greatest Alzheimer's disease caregiver concerns about the progression of their loved one's AD were memory loss (41 percent), personal safety (33 percent) and confusion (27 percent)
  • 84 percent of Alzheimer's disease caregivers of loved ones with severe Alzheimer's disease surveyed said caregiving frequently stops them from participating in activities that they enjoy, which is more than caregivers of loved ones with mild (67 percent) and moderate (68 percent) AD

I wonder, does the failure of many families and friends to understand how Alzheimer's caregivers feel happen because the Alzheimer's caregiver fails to tell them?

Or, does it happen because family and friends fail to ask?

Or, does it happen because families and friends don't want to know and it is easier to avoid the issue?

You are welcome to answer any of all of these questions in the comments box below. If you decide to write more than 100 words I suggest you submit it as an article to publish under your byline.

If you want real discussion of your answers to these question, submit it as an article.

Current and new writers/contributors are encouraged to write and share their personal experience on these issues.

Insight and Advice

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,880 articles with more than 95,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

The Alzheimer's Action Plan   300 Tips for Making Life Easier

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room

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