Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD), family relationships, life cycle, qualitative research



  1. O'Neil, Hailey A. BKin
  2. Fletcher, Paula C. PhD


Introduction: Individuals with early-onset Alzheimer's disease face many challenges and barriers older adults with late-onset Alzheimer's do not. Unfortunately, information about early-onset Alzheimer's disease is in its infancy stage in comparison with late-onset Alzheimer's.


Purpose/Aims: The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experiences of a 54-year-old man with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and his family (wife, sister, and mother) to understand the effects on the family unit.


Design: Interpretive phenomenology was used to guide this study.


Methods: All participants completed 2 in-person one-on-one interviews, and a final interview was completed online. Field notes, member checks, and triangulation were used to enhance the study's credibility.


Results: This article focuses on the theme "'A big curve ball': Disruption of the life cycle." Participants indicated the major financial and social challenges experienced by Joe and his wife. Furthermore, participants emphasized the importance of acceptance and maintaining a positive attitude to help cope with Joe's diagnosis.


Conclusions: The accounts of Joe and his family shed light on an area relatively void in the literature. In addition, Joe's experiences may provide comfort for other families facing early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The implications for community health nurses in assisting individuals with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and their families are discussed.