Caregiver Stress: An Important and Overlooked Health Issue (Special Article)
I am part of a growing health crisis. As part of my job, I have worked with and advised caregivers for almost 10 years. I also have watched as others in my family have faced the challenge of caregiving. But recently, I entered the “club”–the army of Alzheimer family caregivers, when my own mother received a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease. With approximately 5.3 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s, it is estimated there are another 10 million family caregivers. That’s a pretty large club. Not surprisingly, my mom’s diagnosis has taken me by storm. Sherwin B. Nuland, a physician and author of the 1994 best-selling book, “How We Die,” describes Alzheimer’s disease as a “cataclysm” that “tests the human spirit” (1) like no other. I don’t think I could describe it better.