What family caregivers may face – not going home anymore

Over 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. And in 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than  $220 billion.

The costs for those without assistance is startling - out-of-pocket spending for individuals with Alzheimer's and other dementias is estimated at $36 billion.

For the Caregiver industry, reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predict an increase in the personal and home care aide job category, forecasting this category to be the second fastest-growing job group in the nation over the next decade, rising up 49% by 2022.

Demographic trends predict a sharp increase in part-time and in-home, due to cost increases resulting from personnel shortages. In the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease or dementia, patients are not cared for 24 hours a day.  Caregivers (professionals as well as the adult children of people with Alzheimer's Disease) will look to mitigate the rising cost of assisted care through extended at-home stay.

Overall, there will be  more informal and part-time care  being given. 

Nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of Caregiving as high or very high, and more than one-third report symptoms of depression. This physical and emotional responsibility they take on have added an additional $9.3 billion in their own health care costs.

Overall, caregivers of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's face extreme levels income loss, career damage, an increased likelihood of getting dementia themselves, loss of social contacts, a shortened life span, and much more.

Heightening the stress of Caregivers is the harrowing problem of wandering. Of every 100 that go lost, roughly seven percent won't survive if not found within 12 hours. If the time rolls to 24 hours, one half face serious injury or worse…  72 hours: Eighty percent don't survive. 

Prior to a wandering episode Caregivers know that these individuals might just be walking out to get a bite to eat or to run an errand. However one cannot predict when wandering episode will begin; it is often motivated by an unmet need, like being hungry or thirsty.

But the numbers about the hardships facing caregivers don't really tell the story.

The aspect of taking on the task of becoming a caregiver is well presented in this video clip, where Karen Garner explains in a panel discussion at the Living with Alzheimer's "A Journey of Caring Roundtable Event," that her 48 year old husband has early Alzheimer's and at minute 4:15 expresses her anguish, saying

I know what's coming. I am in a porcelain sink, grasping at sides with nothing to hold on to…knowing I am going down into that drain…financially, emotionally, and physically…I know what happens to caregivers. I know what happens to people when they can't handle it. But I have to…

Karen Garner
"A Journey of Caring Roundtable Event"

Overall, caregivers face serious challenges. And at PreSafe, we focused on reducing those difficulties while helping to maintain the freedom and independence that helps their loved ones age in place.