According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter, people who look after their loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can also display a high level of emotional distress. Oftentimes, this massive amount of stress the caregivers face goes untreated, resulting in serious health issues.
The Association’s CEO, Leslie Gregory thinks it is only normal that a person breaks at one point under these circumstances. Especially if the caregiver acts alone and takes it upon himself to look for the patients.
“No one can do it all by themselves”, says Leslie Gregory.
Instead, the Alzheimer’s Association CEO encourages the caregivers to occasionally take a break from their duties and relax.
November is the official National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. Moreover, this month has been dedicated to the caregivers and it is recognized as the National Family Caregivers month, at the same time.
There are more than 500,000 people in Georgia alone who live and consequently care for approximately 130,000 Alzheimer’s patients today. Because of all the factors that come into play, tending to a mentally ill patient can be exhausting, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. As a result, approximately 60 percent of family caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients suffer from extremely elevated levels of emotional stress.
In order to better understand the caregivers’ feelings, the Alzheimer’s Association conducted a study and consequently managed to identify several signs of mental distress. The main reason the caregivers experience elevated levels of stress is due to denial. Once the caregiver is aware of his loved one’s condition and the effects of the disease, he can break under tension.
Another challenge a caregiver faces is represented by frustration and anger towards the patient. They feel helpless as they witness the affected loved ones incapable of doing simple things they were able to perform before the illness struck.
The social withdrawal in the line of the caregivers seems to come with the job. They spend more time helping the patients and ultimately let go of the contact with the outside world. The caregivers can also experience high levels of anxiety and uncertainty about what the next day offers. Ultimately, this leads to depression which can have devastating effects on the caregivers if it goes untreated.
Once depression sets in, sleeplessness, lack of concentration and exhaustion follows, leading to more serious health issues that could threaten the well-being of both the patient, as well as the caregiver.
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