Alzheimer’s disease is not only heart-wrenching for observers and patients, but it also takes a heavy and unique toll on caregivers, thus rendering it a disease that effects everyone. Through the analysis of articles, second-hand accounts, interviews, movies, and books, this research hopes to draw awareness to the difficulties all three groups- observers, patients, and caregivers- face due to Alzheimer’s disease. Observers are often times unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the loss of mental faculties brought about by this disease. This uneasiness causes movies about Alzheimer’s to structure themselves around “the Alzheimer’s plot” which usually has a happy ending to compensate for the discomfort. Patients often struggle with narrative wreckage- the sudden interrupting of their life story due to disease (Frank 54). Uniquely, Alzheimer’s patients also struggle to repair this narrative wreckage because of their newfound inability to remember their past and present. This hinder their ability to use story telling as a coping mechanism. Caregivers, who are the primary focus of the paper, suffer from the financial, physical, and mental burden of caring for their loved ones on a daily basis. They also struggle with the facts that their loved ones may not remember them and that disease is incurable. Ultimately, it is important to educate people about what is necessary for the three groups. Observers must understand that they are only witnessing a carefully-chosen portion of the Alzheimer’s journey. Patients must be especially cared for in the midst of their narrative wreckage. And caregivers must receive the proper support they need during their own time of difficulty and during their own narrative wreckage. Everyone is affected by this sorrowful disease, and this research brings awareness to the ways in which each group is affected, in order to help people receive the proper support they need during their journey.
"Alzheimer's- the Burden that Everyone Faces,"
Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine: Vol. 4:
1, Article 13.
Available at: https://repository.stcloudstate.edu/survive_thrive/vol4/iss1/13