Caregiving for family members with dementia is costly. Caregivers often lose income from lost work opportunities, and they experience higher health care costs resulting from the physical stress of caring for a loved one. A 2011 National Alliance for Caregiving and University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry study entitled “Caregiving Costs: Declining Health in the Alzheimer’s Caregiver as Dementia Increases in the Care Recipient” found that “the median cost of health care service use was calculated for caregivers and non-caregivers. Healthcare for family caregivers providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s cost an average of $4,766 more per year.”
The study focused on a sample of Alzheimer’s Disease family caregivers who provided care over an 18-month period in the home. The average age of the caregivers was 61.7 years. More than half were Caucasian/White (58%), 23% were African American and 18% were Hispanic/Latino. All were unpaid, and most were either spouses (48%) or adult children (41%). The vast majority were female (82.8%) who were spending an average of 7.9 hours daily on care tasks. The average duration of caregiving was 4.3 years. The care recipients’ average age was 78.7 years, and nearly half of them were men (42%). The study can be accessed by clicking the following link: http://www.caregiving.org/pdf/research/Alzheimers_Caregiving_Costs_Study_FINAL.pdf
A new resource has been published to assist caregivers with this important task. The Administration on Aging (AoA) within the Administration for Community Living (ACL) commissioned a supplemental issue of Generations through its National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center (NADRC) in an effort to advance the establishment and enhancement of dementia-capable home and community-based systems. This issue may be accessed by clicking the following link: Supporting People with Dementia and Their Caregivers in the Community.
The Generations supplement comprises 18 articles authored by experts in a broad range of dementia care and advocacy topics. This special issue is dedicated to the delivery of information on a range of topics of significance for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Intended to put dementia care in context, this issue provides insight into evidence-based interventions, person-centered/directed dementia care, underserved and vulnerable populations, and other topics for providing effective home and community-based services. The Generations publication is free.