Alzheimer’s: The emotional toll on families

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March 26, 2012 — Alzheimer’s: it’s almost always a family affair that involves the shouldering of many new responsibilities and high emotions. New research holds promise, and information and support groups are helpful. Still, it can be overwhelming to care for a loved one who’s spiraling downward — experiencing memory-loss, disorientation, and rapid behavioral changes due to this degenerative brain disease. Dr. Dan Gottlieb discusses Alzheimer’s and its emotional toll on families with Felicia Greenfield and Bruce Graham.

Felicia Greenfield, LCSW, is the Associate Director for Clinical and Research Operations at the Penn Memory Center. She facilitates support groups for individuals (and their care partners) who have been newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and she is a co-facilitator in the Cognitive Fitness program.

Bruce Graham is an award-winning playwright, teacher, and actor. His play “The Outgoing Tide,” now at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, juxtaposes the realities of life with a debilitating illness with the vulnerabilities of an emotionally wrought family, trying to do what’s best.

More information: For a self-diagnostic test, please visit

Photo by Flickr user Maria Fernanda Nunez

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