Dementia and the Family
Any devastating illness has effects on members of a family as well as the patient. Though there may be evidences of sympathy and empathy, there are also different effects and degrees among the involved parties. In the case of dementia, there is a ripple effect that has been described for several years now. Usually, there is a primary caregiver, most often a spouse or middle-aged child, who becomes responsible for the care of the patient as the process moves slowly but inexorably to its termination. Increasing physical and mental demands accompany the changes, with physical illness and stress as potential outcomes for the caregiver. Even if the demands are handled successfully, there will be a need to consider legal and economic factors, including the eventual placement of the patient in a long-term care facility. The complex of such events has led to the awareness of multiple and severe “burdens” that must be faced and adjusted to by the primary caregiver. The challenge may be met, or it may become overwhelming.
KeywordsSupport Group Primary Caregiver Caregiver Burden Dementia Patient Spiritual Support
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