Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

We wish to thank the many Alzheimer’s families we have come to know and to care about deeply. They have permitted us to describe aspects of their lives here, in order to illuminate the points made in our writing. In all cases, we have changed names...

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Introduction: The Importance of Understanding the Family’s Emotional and Psychological Experiences

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pp. 1-7

In the United States today, nearly five and a half million individuals suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a chronic, progressive illness that affects memory, functioning, mood, personality, and behavior (Alzheimer’s Association 2014). While there is...

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1. Coping with Discordant Views of the Illness

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pp. 8-25

In the majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease, the individual with the disease is less aware of the illness, its severity, and its consequences than are members of the family. While there are exceptions to this pattern, there is commonly a significant...

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2. The Defenses of the Alzheimer’s Family Care Partner

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pp. 26-47

The emotional realities that confront Alzheimer’s family members can be grim and cause intense anguish. This involves nothing less than having to face the gradual loss of the loved one in nearly every respect, often long before actual physical death...

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3. Common Emotions Experienced by the Family Care Partner

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pp. 48-81

This chapter focuses on several common emotional reactions that family members may feel when coping with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s: anxiety, guilt, anger, and shame. In chapter 5, grief, the emotion that is at the center of the family...

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4. Understanding Grief in the Family Care Partner

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pp. 82-99

The central emotional experience of the Alzheimer’s family is grief over the gradual loss of the loved one, before actual physical death occurs (Noyes et al. 2010). Grieving for the loss of the person who is living with the disease begins very early...

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5. Stages of Grief in the Family Care Partner

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pp. 100-121

Grief in the Alzheimer’s family member is at the center of his reaction to losing a loved one with this disease (Frank 2008). Feelings of grief begin with the earliest signs of the illness— often before a formal diagnosis has been made—and continue...

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6. Acceptance and Moving Forward

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pp. 122-133

In the previous chapter, the three stages of grief—anguish, adaptation, and acceptance—were described. This chapter continues the discussion of acceptance and considers factors that help the care partner achieve that state, along with equanimity...

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7. Connecting with the Alzheimer’s Community

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pp. 134-152

In order to achieve acceptance and to move forward with one’s life, it is essential for the family care partner to reach out to the Alzheimer’s community. This chapter discusses the multiple ways in which that is a vital part of the healing process...

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8. Understanding and Coping with Stress in the Family Care Partner

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pp. 153-202

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is always stressful. Even in the best of circumstances—such as a very close, loving, and mutual relationship; the absence of severe mood or behavioral symptoms; ample support and assistance from others...

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Epilogue

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pp. 203-208

Having a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is a deeply painful experience. The progression of the illness, from its earliest stages to the end, is a saga of loss unmatched by most any other event. However, it is possible for the family care partner to...

References

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pp. 209-214

Index

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pp. 215-220