Coping with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: A client and caregiver perspective

Shawn Saunders, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to examine how individuals and their caregivers cope with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The sample size consisted of six patients with Alzheimer's disease and seven caregivers. The caregivers included spouses and adult children. The study was conducted at an academic medical center in the South Florida area. Using a phenomenological approach, data were collected by audiotaped interviews. Data were analyzed following the seven steps of Colaizzi (1978). The results of the study indicated that clients experienced fear, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and a need for love and support. Caregivers experienced psychological strain, burden, lifestyle adjustments and sacrifice. Both clients and caregivers identified numerous strategies for coping with Alzheimer's disease. The findings reflect the need for a holistic approach to promoting the quality of life for patients and caregivers.

Subject Area

Nursing|Psychotherapy|Mental health

Recommended Citation

Saunders, Shawn, "Coping with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: A client and caregiver perspective" (1998). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI1388976.