Alzheimer's Caregivers Say Key Is Time Off

By  | 

Ken Willits wife has had Alzheimer's for five years now and says the biggest challenge is simple communication and finding time to take a break. He says she needs constant supervision.

Willits says his wife used to be a very active person and still is despite the disease. To help her and himself, his wife spends several hours everyday at Tabitha's intergenerational daycare, a daycare that allows children and adults to interact together under close supervision. Willit's says this also gives him time to get things done and rest before caring for his wife again.

Willits also attends a support group for caregivers. The Alzheimer's Association offers 10 support groups in Lincoln and Lancaster County and has a network of 56 support groups across the state. For more information call toll free 1-800-487-2585. Extended Web Coverage

Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an age-related and irreversible brain disorder that occurs gradually and results in memory loss, behavior and personality changes, and a decline in thinking abilities.

  • These losses are related to the breakdown of the connections between nerve cells in the brain and the eventual death of many of these cells.

  • On average, patients with AD live for 8 to 10 years after they are diagnosed with the disease.

  • AD advances progressively, from mild forgetfulness to a severe loss of mental function.

  • Although the risk of developing AD increases with age, AD and dementia symptoms are not a part of normal aging.

Impact of AD

  • AD is the most common cause of dementia among people age 65 and older.

  • Scientists estimate that up to four million people currently suffer with the disease, and the prevalence (the number of people with the disease at any one time) doubles every 5 years beyond age 65.

  • A recent study estimated that the annual cost of caring for one AD patient is $18,408 for a patient with mild AD, $30,096 for a patient with moderate AD, and $36,132 for a patient with severe AD.

  • The annual national direct and indirect costs of caring for AD patients are estimated to be as much as $100 billion.

Types of AD

  • Two types of Alzheimer’s disease exist: familial AD (FAD), which follows a certain inheritance pattern, and sporadic AD, where no obvious inheritance pattern is seen.

  • AD is further described as early-onset (occurring in people younger than 65) or late-onset (occurring in those 65 and older).

  • Early-onset AD is rare (about 5 to 10 percent of cases) and generally affects people aged 30 to 60. Some forms of early-onset AD are inherited and run in families.

Source: Web Reports