Alzheimer's Disease

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Public Policy of Alzheimer's and their care givers

Table of Contents



Review of Current Scenario and policies2

Representation in Society6

Representation for Patients6

Impact of Care Giving On Caregivers' Physical Health6

Representation for Caregivers8

Alzheimer's disease International (ADI)8

Logistical Concerns in Policy Initiatives9

Current Medicare policy and Its Impact10



Public Policy of Alzheimer's and Their Care Givers


Alzheimer's disease, first described by the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer, is a physical disease affecting the brain. During the course of the disease, protein 'plaques' and 'tangles' develop in the structure of the brain, leading to the death of brain cells. People with Alzheimer's also have a shortage of some important chemicals in their brain. These chemicals are involved with the transmission of messages within the brain. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, which means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged. As this happens, the symptoms become more severe (LoboPrabhu, Lomax, Molinari, 2006).

This term paper will identify the public policy initiatives in respect of the disease and its care givers that can prove to be a successful intervention in the area of managing the disease and controlling it from further spreading.


Alzheimer's disease "is defined by the association of dementia or the progressive deterioration of cognitive functions with a significant impact on professional and social functions of the patient, and the existence of brain damage specific "(Gallez, 2005). This is actually a neurological disease whose definitive diagnosis is currently a post-mortem based on structural changes in the brain. This condition causes a decrease in life expectancy and a state of physical and psychological dependence. It is estimated that about eight and a half years the average life of Alzheimer patient's once first symptoms appeared.

Review of Current Scenario and policies

In 2009, families in the U.S. provide an estimated 94 billion dollars worth of unpaid care for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease (Alzheimer's Association, 2009). The healthcare system relies heavily on families to provide long term care for those with chronic conditions like Alzheimer's disease, which is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder that causes severe memory loss and decline in brain function. Alzheimer's caregivers experience high levels of emotional stress, fatigue, financial burden, poor health, employment disadvantage, and in many cases clinical depression. These negative effects of care giving can be described collectively as “caregiver burden” (Clay, Haley, Mittlemann, 2006).

Current Medicare and private health care insurance policies are designed only to cover treatment of acute illnesses, and do not provide coverage for long term care. These policies leave the costs of providing care and the administration of care the assumed responsibility of the family members of the person diagnosed with chronic conditions like Alzheimer's disease. There are also extremely limited federal and state funded support programs or counseling services available for Alzheimer's caregivers (National Family Caregivers Association, 2006).

The lack of long term healthcare coverage and availability of support services for Alzheimer's caregivers is problematic, as just because families are willing to assume roles as caregivers does not mean that policy makers are absolved from the responsibility of assisting ...
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