Alzheimer's disease

The struggle for the patient and caregiver

Preface

Dear Reader, as you read through this website you will come across shocking information. All this is true about Alzheimer's disease. The horror of it is explained in essays, a poem, pictures, and more. As you finish reading you will hopefully be prepared to go and help raise awareness about this horrible disease.

Expository Essay

Savannah S.

Ms. Cross

English 1–Period 7

8 May 2013


The one who keeps on giving


Juggling work and a family may seem time consuming but add on caring for someone with Alzheimer’s takes it to a whole new level. Alzheimer caregivers have to do this and more, it is the most difficult job to do and it adds on loads of stress, time, and effort. Sometimes all that is needed is a break away from all of it. Care giving will literally destroy a person if they don’t know how to handle it.


Being a caregiver is a full time job. The effort and time that is required is consuming. “… serving as a family caregiver can damage you mental and physical health…” (Smith, Patricia B., Mary Mitchell Kenan, PsyD, Mark Edwin Kunik, MD, MPH. 285) Which is completely correct, Alzheimer’s will damage the patient’s brain but will also destroy the caregiver’s. It will pull them away from family duties, work, and anything else which will hurt them physically and mentally. Every minute will be spent taking care of the person. “Even if you feel up to the job, you can’t get around the fact that taking care of a cognitively impaired adult is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.” (Smith, Patricia B., Mary Mitchell Kenan, PsyD, Mark Edwin Kunik, MD, MPH. 285) Care giving for a person with Alzheimer’s will be especially hard because most of the time they are fine on the outside but on the inside they are forgetting everything. In the beginning it will seem easy but as time goes it will begin to get harder and watching the loved one slowly leave will make it 100x harder. No matter what happens caregivers need to realize what is happening to their physical and mental health and get help if needed.


Caring for the Alzheimer’s patient usually comes first but it is just as important to help the caregiver. “The humor intervention worked well for pretty much everyone,” (Mozes 1) It has been proven that humor is a good medicine for patients but it has also been shown that using laughter for the care givers is a great way for them to cope. Laughter reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and boost immune functions which all help the care givers ability to give everything they can. “..., its all too easy to completely let go of your former life.” (Smith, Patricia B., Mary Mitchell Kenan, PsyD, Mark Edwin Kunik, MD, MPH. 285) It is very important for a caregiver to go and take time off and relax. It may be necessary to hire someone to come and help. It would take off loads of stress and make it easier to relax. Care giving is hard work and won’t ever get easier unless someone is helping. Caregivers give so much so they disserve something in return.


Caring for an Alzheimer’s disease patient is a very heroic and brave thing to do. It is not easy and will take almost every ounce of strength possible. Just relax and know that it will pay off in the end. Caregivers will never know how much they are appreciated.

Narrative Essay


Savannah S.

Ms. Cross

English 1–Period 7

8 May 2013


Letting go


Letting go of a loved one after decades together is an unimaginable pain to most people. After being with a spouse for so long it is hard to imagine not being with them, especially losing them to Alzheimer’s disease and watching them slip slowly away. Carl and Peggy are an example and Carl struggles to let Peggy go.


Carl and Peggy were a happy couple that had been married for 54 years and had two children that now live across the country. When Peggy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 82 it affected the whole family but mainly Carl who was 86. They had been there for each other no matter what and Carl felt like it was his job to be there with her. He had no idea how hard it was going to be to take care of Peggy all by himself, but he was determined to do everything possible. He bought books, read articles, almost anything that could be imagined about care giving. Carl was sacrificing his own life to care for hers. His children visited often and after a while they began to notice that he was falling apart just as much as their mother was. They tried there hardest to convince him to take her to a nursing home, but he refused. Finally, after realizing that his own physical and mental health was in jeopardy, Carl decided to get help. He put Peggy in a nursing home not far from his home so he could still be with her all day. As time went on Carl slowly started to recover but Peggy did not. Eventually Peggy passed away but Carl felt good about his decision to move her because of the great care she received in the home.


Many married couples vow to remain with each other through sickness and health. Often times when one is affected with a disease or illness the other will do whatever they can possibly do to remain their loved ones care giver like Carl did. If the caregiver does not have enough support and help it can lead to serious often life threatening issues.


Poem element

Savannah S.

Ms. Cross

English 1-Period 7

18 May 2013


Caring


Constantly watching out for the patient with Alzheimer’s disease

Always helping in times of need

Ready to give and not receive

Imagining what it would be like to not hold their hand

Nervously watching them drift away like a boat on the sea

Giving all you have and more everyday because you are the caregiver and you love

Trying to Remember

Visual element


This picture is a definition of Alzheimer's disease. Why it is is because the disease usually effects older people and does make you lose your memory. The lady in the picture shows all the signs of Alzheimer's disease. She is worn down, you can tell by her facial expression that she is under a lot of stress, and you can almost see that she is trying to remember her past.

The Information

The choice element


This video really explains how deadly Alzheimer's disease is. It gives the specific numbers and makes you think about how bad it really is. When I first watched this video I wanted to learn more. It made me feel like I needed to show more about this horrible disease.

Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures 2013

Research Connections


Savannah S.

Ms. Cross

English 1-Period 7

18 May 2013


Research Connections


Expository Essay: My expository essay focuses on the caregivers because it ties in all the struggles that Alzheimer’s disease has. Why I choose to research about caregivers was because they do so much and have their hands full with caring and dealing with their other life at home. Their job is to take care of the patient that had Alzheimer’s disease. Taking care of the patient is a huge responsibility! “… serving as a family caregiver can damage you mental and physical health…” (Smith, Patricia B., Mary Mitchell Kenan, PsyD, Mark Edwin Kunik, MD, MPH. 285) As explained in the quote being the caregiver can destroy you if you don’t know how to handle it, and in the end you might be hurting just as much as the patient. “It is very important for a caregiver to go and take time off and relax.” (Strauss 1) This quote from the paper ties in how stressful it is to care for and Alzheimer’s disease patient. Since this project looks at the whole disease, this paper looks at just the stress which is really the main problem.


Narrative: When I wrote my narrative essay I wanted to add a lot about caregivers and the patient. I put in information that I had in my expository essay about how hard it is to let a person go. "Letting go of a loved one after decades together is an unimaginable pain to most people." (Strauss 1) one of the main struggles for a caregiver is watching the patient slowly mentally and physically disappear. Also in my story I talked about how the caregiver, Carl, was starting to become weaker as well as his wife. "If you give all your time, energy and attention to the care of you AD patient, you're neglecting other priorities, including your own needs." Smith, Patricia B., Mary Mitchell Kenan, PsyD, Mark Edwin Kunik, MD, MPH. 305) Since I used this fact in my paper it ties it all together because that is what happens to most caregivers


Poem: The poem also refers to the caregivers and their journey. It explains very briefly what they do and why it is so hard. “Nervously watching them drift away like a boat on the sea” (Strauss 1) Part of what happens when a person has Alzheimer’s disease they forget everything about their past. It is very devastating to watch and to be a part of. “… it’s all too easy to completely let go of your former life.” (Smith, Patricia B., Mary Mitchell Kenan, PsyD, Mark Edwin Kunik, MD, MPH. 285) I tied this information into my poem because almost all caregivers get carried away and forget about themselves which tears them down even more. It is so important for people to go and get some time alone and just let their mind go blank. Alzheimer’s disease will hurt the caregiver just as much it does the patient if they can’t relax.


Visual: My Visual element was a picture of a woman sitting cupping her hands over her face. When I saw this picture I knew immediately that I had to use it. This picture almost tells a story. The woman in the photo is older and looks worn out. When I person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease it will effect so many people especially the caregiver. That is one of the main reasons this picture relates to my research, because caregivers are sometimes hurt just as much as the patient is. She looks like she is trying to remember something. That is what happens when you have Alzheimer’s disease. It makes the person forget their past and it is very hard on everyone. Another reason this picture relates back to my research is that I really focused on reading about how it hurts the family, caregivers, and the patient who is diagnosed with it.


Choice element: The first day I decided that my topic was going to be Alzheimer’s disease I went to the computer and typed in "Alzheimer’s disease". The first thing that popped up was the video that I choose for my choice element. I watched it and saw that it included so much information. It gave me so many numbers and it really made me see how deadly this disease is and how many people are trying to help. The video gave me the idea to look at the caregivers more closely and that was when I decided to write my expository essay about them. It also made me want to research more about the specific numbers and that’s when I thought to have all my research revolve around this one video. It showed me how everyone is connected and everyone plays a role. This video inspired me to take charge and I hope that others will too once they see how traumatic this disease really is.

Work Cited


"Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures 2013 - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BXnZt5VMjZY>.


Chow, Reuben. "Tips to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease Revealed in Three Recent Studies." Natural health news. N.p., 16 Feb. 2009. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <http://www.naturalnews.com/025642_disease_ Alzheimers.html>.


"Gum Disease Can Increase Your Chances of Getting Alzheimer's | Lakeway." Cosmetic & Family Dentist — Austin | Lakeway Dentistry Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2013. <http://www.dentalartist.com/oral-health/gum-disease-can-increase-your-chances-of-getting-alzheimers/>.


Smith, Patricia Burkhart, Mary Kenan, and Mark Edwin Kunik. Alzheimer's for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub., 2004. Print.