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Risk of Isolation: A Downward Spiral

It can be a lonely job, caring for someone with a dementia illness such as Alzheimer’s disease—solitary for the individual with Alzheimer’s, as well as the family caregiver.

In fact, a recent survey of family caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s, many reported isolation as their biggest challenge.

74% of the surveyed caregivers of individuals with a dementia illness reported that they and their loved ones have become more isolated as a result of the disease. Because of this, 85% of these caregivers believe they have a reduced quality of life. Why? There could be many reasons, but likely the most common reason revolves around fear of the potential and unpredictable behavioural symptoms of this disease such as confusion, memory loss, repetition and poor judgement.

These issues can make going out frightening, not only for those with dementia, but for their caregivers as well, increasing their risks of isolation as they opt to stay in versus venture outside their homes, according to experts and research conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead® network. What’s even more potentially dangerous is once isolation begins, it can set in motion a spiral of events that could lead to further emotional tolls on the caregiver.

While it may appear that isolation is an issue that only affects the individual with Alzheimer’s or his or her caregiver, research shows that it can permeate other areas too. According to the survey, 62% of family caregivers who are staying home more spend less time (and, as a result, less money) at local businesses.

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