Date of Award
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Alzheimer Disease; Caregivers; Quality of Life
“Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in North America and Europe” and “accounts for sixty percent of all irreversible dementia cases” (Moore, 2003, p. 50,126). Along with the 4.5 million Americans who suffer from Alzheimer’s, there are also the caregivers who are suffering alongside their loved one. The stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming. This affects the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and the health of the caregiver.
A comprehensive literature review was conducted to explore and identify effective techniques and interventions, pertinent to both the caregiver and patient's quality of life. The literature review was conducted using several sources: Harley French Library, Alzheimer’s Association National website, Alzheimer’s Association of the Great Plains website, Casper College Library, and brochures from local long-term care facilities. The literature determined that although there is a considerable amount of information available regarding Alzheimer’s disease, the information is not easily accessible, nor organized in an easy to use, consumer friendly format.
The findings from the literature resulted in the development of the Alzheimer’s Toolbox: A Caregiver’s Guide. Alzheimer’s Toolbox: A Caregiver’s Guide is an easy to use and understand booklet of information. Toolbox is included in the title so the readers understand that it contains the tools needed to help improve the quality of life for all involved.
Alzheimer’s Toolbox: A Caregiver’s Guide utilizes occupational therapy techniques designed to help reduce stress and improve the quality of life for both caregivers and the persons with this disease. It includes resources for when the caregiver needs additional support or wants to enhance their own performance. The Toolbox addresses the changes in the duties the caregiver assumes due to decreased functioning of the person with AD. Activities of daily living, financial responsibilities, home management and legal decisions are some of the areas where changes are addressed.
It is the authors hope to improve the quality of life for those who are living with AD and their caregivers by providing a toolbox of interventions, environment alterations and coping strategies. The proper use of the Toolbox will allow the users to modify the specific areas or tasks most appropriate for the individual’s particular situation and provide the caregiver guidance as to when additional services might be needed.
Eastwood, Kristen and Smith, Gerry, "Alzheimer's Toolbox: A Caregiver's Guide" (2007). Occupational Therapy Capstones. 56.