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Alzheimer’s facts . . . and tips for caregivers

More than one of my friends has had or now has Alzheimer’s disease or is/was a caregiver for a loved one with dementia.  One long-time friend recently found a ‘home’ for her husband who has Alzheimer’s, stating that she did this out of her love for Richard.   She found the best possible facility and visits him regularly.  He is doing well in a place that is staffed with professionally trained caring people.

Another friend (an only child) lovingly cared for her mother for many years until her mom’s death.  I mentioned to a relative, after learning her mother died with Alzheimer’s, that this disease is like cancer in that it affects (either directly or peripherally) every family.  I believe this to be true and as I have posted before, when I am interested in anything, it seems as though I research it ad nauseam.  It could be me. It could be me in either situation – as one with the disease or as a caregiver for a loved one.

It could be.

The statistics about Alzheimer’s are alarming and I think that it behooves all of us to learn about this disease.

Facts and figures about Alzheimers

Alzheimer’s disease was the seventh-leading cause of death across all ages in the United States in 2006. It was the fifth-leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older.

Almost 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. These unpaid caregivers are primarily family members but also include friends. In 2009, they provided 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at almost $144 billion. In Texas, an estimated 852,820 caregivers annually provide 971.2 million hours of uncompensated care valued at $11.2 billion.

The 2009 NAC/AARP survey found that 14 percent of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias were under age 35; 26 percent were aged 35–49; 46 percent were aged 50–64; and 13 percent were aged 65 and over.

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is often very difficult, and many family and other unpaid caregivers experience high levels of emotional stress and depression as a result. Caregiving also has a negative impact on the health, employment, income and financial security of many caregivers.

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About hopeseguin

Who am I? I'm still discovering just who I am, I suppose. A. Powell Davis writes that "Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

4 responses »

  1. Thank you for shedding a bright light on the issues that come with caring for a loved on with Alzheimer’s. I wanted to make you aware of a service called Lotsa Helping Hands. Family caregivers can get respite and relief from tapping into the many offers of help they receive from their circle of friends and family by creating a free, private web-based community at http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com. The free service includes an intuitive group calendar for scheduling meals, rides and other daily activities as well as community sections (well wishes, blogs, photos) that provide emotional support to the family. We created Lotsa Helping Hands to answer the question “What Can I do to Help?” – I hope your readers find it helpful in their caregiving journey.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the posting Hope. As the previous comment mentioned, I also personally feel as much attention needs to be given to the caregiver as to the person experiencing the disease….as we all know, at some point, the person with Alzheimer’s is no longer aware of the issues that the disease is causing to his family and close friends. Unfortunately, this is the time that the caregiver tends to feel the most alone, as once close friends go on with their lives and their lives, as caregivers, are put on hold. Often, we remember those in an immediate crises, and forget, or move on, past those that are in a day to day struggle. It is a often a test to our Christian spiritual beliefs and our faith, how we handle these situations. How to reach out, beyond ourselves, to those that are in a more silent struggle with a loved one. Alzheimers also helps put things into perspective. What is important, what isn’t…what is the right thing, the important thing to do at a particular moment. Time is such a fleeting thing, and I personally pray that I can reach out to those that need me, when they need me, on God’s schedule, not my own, I am also thankful that there are groups like lotsahelpinghands.com that truly GET it. I am so glad that this was mentioned, as often, during Alzheimer’s, one’s support group thins out, and others, once strangers, are there, by God’s grace, to step in. A very close friend of mine suffers from Alzheimers. And he continues to teach me important lessons in life, like he taught me before the disease. He is also teaching these principals to my daughter as she watches the progress of the disease: patience, faithfulness, tolerance, how to laugh when you might want to cry, and the most important…love, regardless of the disease of the body, the soul of our loved one remains.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: praying for friends « AimlessMusings2010

  4. Pingback: Quest for Understanding « AimlessMusings2010

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