Alzheimer's Sociological Impact

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The Sociological Impact That Alzheimer’s Has On The Family System INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this research paper is to discuss the sociological impact that Alzheimer’s disease has on the family system. The following theories and concepts will be utilized as a basis for analysis: the family systems theory and ecological perspective to show how the family unit is responsible for the decision making and problem solving for the affected Alzheimer’s patient and how the families involved work to adapt to their situations, the symbolic interaction theory to show of how the interactions of caring for an Alzheimer’s sufferer can affect a caregiver, the feminist theory to show how gender roles play an intricate part in the area of caretaking…show more content…
When deciding to take on the role of caretaker, certain problems have been known to arise. Assuming the role of caretaker can pose a threat physically and emotionally to a person. Caregivers suffer in the forms of “sleeplessness, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and impaired immunological responses that result in increased use of psychotropic drugs” (Marziali, Elsa, et al. 2005: 376). Author Jo Danna describes caretaker suffering to come in the forms of discouragement of being unable to stop the disease from progressing even with one on one care, resentment of the energy, time and money spent, self-loathing because of losing patience with an Alzheimer’s sufferer who means no intentional harm, frequent sicknesses such as colds or headaches, lack of time for oneself and the things one enjoys, cutting oneself off from friends and other family members to put the patient first, and severe depression due to a combination of these factors(90). This shows us that the caretaker’s attitudes, ideas and beliefs play a part in the problems that arise from caring for…show more content…
With the majority of the affected families taking an active roll in the caring for Alzheimer’s patients it seems that the responsibilities of caring for a family member of a family of orientation while juggling the responsibilities of being a member of a family of procreation and other constraints such as work puts a strain on the caretaker no matter what the sex or gender of the caretaker may be. Alzheimer’s forces a family into a situation they did not willingly ask for and are made to adapt one way or another to the situation because refusal to do so can severely threaten the family structure. The length of the illness causes emotional strains along with physical and financial costs, which can intensify the family’s feeling of abandonment and loss. Having had a family member ravaged by this disease I am aware of the difficulties that families incur when dealing with the struggles brought on by Alzheimer’s and feel that more research and time need to be devoted to the issue. The issues that arise affect not only the family system but, especially with the expected growth of those diagnosed with the disease, society as a whole. With no cure available in the foreseeable future Alzheimer’s disease will become an epidemic in our country with the baby boomer generation aging and due to American’s longer life spans. The struggle for resources associated with the

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