One out of every ten people over the age of 65 will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
If someone you love has recently received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, then we know you’re dealing with intense emotions — and questions about the future.
You don’t know how you’re going to deal with the consequences of this horrific disease. You can’t imagine how it will feel to watch the person you once knew as lively, sharp as a tack, and loving turn into someone who you don’t recognize — and who doesn’t recognize you.
If one of your family members has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, now is the time to start to understand what to expect.
This post will tell you the sometimes difficult truth about how having someone with Alzheimer’s in the family impacts you. Then, once you know what could happen, you can make informed decisions about how to proceed.
1. The Financial Consequences
Many people fail to address the financial consequences of one of their family members receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
The medications alone can easily cost up to $400 every month. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be responsible for covering some or even all of that cost.
Then, there is the cost of care.
Perhaps you’re considering quitting your job or taking an extended leave of absence to help family members manage the disease. Can you truly afford this loss of income? Is there a guarantee another job will be waiting for you down the line?
In some cases, you may consider hiring an in-home nurse. This allows you to work, but at some point, a few check-ins every other day might not be enough. You need to understand the cost of 24/7 live-in care.
Especially as the disease progresses, you may want to give serious thought to the financial benefit of inpatient care. Not only will your family member receive the level of care they need and deserve. In some cases, it could end up saving you money.
2. Caregiver Burnout
Right now, as the diagnosis is fresh, all you can think about is how your family and friends will rally around the person with Alzheimer’s.
You have visions of meal plans, care schedules, visits, and even memory exercises you will all take turns doing. You think that you can care for your parent either on your own or as a group.
This may work for a little while.
But the reality is that eventually, you’ll likely find that the majority of the burden of care falls to you. We know you want to be able to give your family member everything.
But you have to be able to take care of yourself, too.
Caregiver burnout is real, and it’s something you need to prepare for.
You may find yourself growing frustrated with the person who has Alzheimer’s. This may impact the quality of care you’re able to provide.
Caregiver burnout can also cause serious family conflict. It strains relationships and can cause you to grow resentful towards other family members you feel aren’t doing their share of the work.
It can even impact your marriage and relationship with your children.
Most of all, it affects you, your sense of self-worth, and your ability to care for yourself.
3. Experiencing Loss as a Family
When you’re caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s, loss and grief take on new forms.
The person you’re taking care of is still alive, but the truth is that so much of them is already gone. Loss becomes something you experience on a daily basis.
You’re hurt when the family member doesn’t remember your name. You’re afraid when they become confused and try to attack you. You feel like it’s all worthless when, in spite of all the sacrifices you’ve made, nothing you’re doing seems right.
You know the relationship you once had with this person is gone, even if they’re not. For many, this sense of grief happens long before death ever arrives.
This can lead to depression, anxiety, social isolation, and more on the part of the caregiver.
4. Physical Exhaustion
Many caregivers underestimate the sheer amount of physical strength that it takes to provide for someone with Alzheimer’s.
They may be unable to shower or bathe. They may, on top of Alzheimer’s, experience some sort of a mobility issue. They may wake you up at all hours of the night.
While of course, you would drop everything to go and be with them, you’re going to be emotionally and physically exhausted.
You’ll barely have time or energy to do anything for yourself and your family and friends. When you do have a moment, all you’ll want to do is sleep.
Plus, this level of exhaustion can destroy your immune system. You may find that you get sick far more often than usual — but you still have to be there to provide care.
Looking for Another Solution for Family Members with Alzheimer’s?
From the financial to the physical, we understand that it’s incredibly difficult to face reality when it comes to the consequences of Alzheimer’s.
Has one of your family members been diagnosed? Do you suspect that soon, they’ll need a level of care that, personally and medically, you’re simply unable to provide?
If so, then it’s important to know that you have options.
We offer respectful, loving, and unparalleled Alzheimer’s care service at our inpatient facility.
Learn more about what we have to offer, and request a tour if you’re ready to consider moving a family member to one of our homes.