Those Invaluable Caregivers

By Robert Elmer III on November 12, 2017 in Uncategorized
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When you consider that the name of my company is “Care for Caregivers,” it’s pretty easy to figure out what our focus is. I’ve been saying it for years; if you’re an informal or “at home” caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementia you’re my hero. I recently spoke at a Conference in Connecticut and had the opportunity to stop by a table that was handing out brochures on “Caregivers in America.” After reading it, it didn’t take me long to decide that this installment should focus on those incredibly valuable at home caregivers and the price they are paying.
There are over 15 million unpaid or informal caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in this country and tragically, 30% of them will pre-decease those they are caring for. Furthermore, the mortality rate of those same at home caregivers is 63% greater than it it is for non caregivers of the same age. Those are just two of the stats that fuel my passion for what I do.
My attention this week is to look at the broad picture and not drill down on just Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving. I think you’ll find the information I’m about to share with you as compelling as I did.
For the record, this information is provided by The NAC or National Alliance for Caregiving (www.caregiving.org)…and the NAC says…there are 39.8 million at home caregivers in this country and 6 out of 10 are employed. 90% of all caregivers that provide long term support are unpaid. 60% are female and 40% are male. 1 in 10 caregivers are 75 years old or older. 42% perform medical/nursing tasks, without any training. 78% of those that are providing medical nursing tasks are managing medications as well as administering IV’s, injections, as well as medications.
So what kind of a toll is this taking on the caregivers? Not surprisingly, 55% feel overwhelmed and 1 in 5 report physical strain because of their caregiving duties. 1 in 5 had to leave the work force early to care for a loved one(s) and the amount of lost income and benefits for a family caregiver over 50 is a shocking $303,880. It should surprise no one that 8 out of 10 of these caregivers admit they could use more information and support and that’s why I do what I do and as self serving as this sounds, it’s why those I work with appreciate it so much. Now let’s look at the actual value of this uncompensated at home caregiving. According to The National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD), the value of this family and friend uncompensated caregiving is $470 Billion dollars. Medicaid spending was less at a mere $449 Billion dollars. One final set of stats for you to digest is where these care recipients receive their care; 48% get their care at home, 35% get their care in the caregivers home (think about the impact of that), 11% get unpaid care in nursing homes, assisted living communities or retirement communities and 6% get their care in someone else’s home all together.
I apologize for all the numbers but I think you’ll agree that once you digest them all, it’s pretty easy to see why I have always said these at home caregivers should be “Sainted.” It would be marvelous if every one of them were natural born caregivers and nurturers but such is not the case. Many of them have been thrown into caregiving and would be the first ones to tell you that “on the job training” is not the best way to go. My hope and prayer for all of them is that they do reach out to other family members, friends and agencies to take advantage of the help and support that may be available to them. I also hope they realize what a blessing they are in their loved ones life.
Questions? Email me at repe@careforcaregivers.org. Remember, Join the Journey

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Robert Elmer IIIView all posts by Robert Elmer III