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Distributed for Dartmouth College Press

The Emotional Journey of the Alzheimer’s Family

Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health crisis. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 5.4 million victims of this disease; by 2050, there will be close to 15 million people who suffer from this debilitating disorder of memory, thinking, personality, and functioning. The disease profoundly affects immediate family members, close friends, and neighbors. These people—the Alzheimer’s family—undergo tremendous psychological and emotional change as they witness the cruel and relentless progression of the disease in their loved one. Incorporating over thirty years of experience with Alzheimer’s patients and their families with current medical knowledge, the authors chart the complex emotional journey of the Alzheimer’s family from the onset of the disease through the death of the loved one. They discuss the anger that rises in the face of discordant views of the disease, the defenses that emerge when family members are unwilling to accept a dementia diagnosis, and the common emotions of anxiety, guilt, anger, and shame. They focus especially on grief as the core response to losing a loved one to dementia, and describe the difficult processes of adaptation and acceptance, which lead to personal growth. Final chapters emphasize the importance of establishing a care community and how to understand and cope with personal stress. This volume will be useful to medical professionals and ordinary people close to or caring for a person with dementia.

232 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments • Introduction: The Importance of Understanding the Family’s Emotional and Psychological Experiences • Coping with Discordant Views of the Illness • The Defenses of the Alzheimer’s Family Care Partner • Common Emotions Experienced by the Family Care Partner • Understanding Grief in the Family Care Partner • Stages of Grief in the Family Care Partner • Acceptance and Moving Forward • Connecting with the Alzheimer’s Community • Understanding and Coping with Stress in the Family Care Partner • Epilogue • References • Index

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