Final Abstract for URS Program
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive illness characterized by severe brain atrophy and accumulation of neurofibrillary tangles and neurotic plaques in the cerebral cortex. These symptoms lead to severe memory loss and confusion for the individual with AD, but this loss of memory also has a great effect on the family members caring for them. In the past the consequences of caring for someone with AD have been largely ignored and overshadowed by AD itself, however one should not ignore the drastic life changes the caregiver of an AD patient must make. Caregivers of AD patients must not only cope with the diagnosis of a loved one, but may also need to step up and take care of the logistics of the disease. This includes everything from paying for doctor’s appointments, to designating a durable power of attorney (DPOA) to finding a nursing home for the individual with AD. Also, the financial burden of Alzheimer’s treatment and care often falls onto the family. All these factors lead to a range of emotions and stress for the caregiver that should not be ignored by society.