According to research conducted by The Alzheimer’s Association, about 83% of care provided to older Americans comes from family members. Of that amount, almost half are caring for loved ones with dementia. They are not paid and don’t expect it. What they do expect, however, is to provide a level of care that lies well beyond what they can handle as human beings. That’s what makes it so challenging.
Research indicates that greater stress is experienced by those caring for a loved one with dementia than any other condition. According to Elen Fazio, a health scientist administrator at the National Institute on Aging, this is likely due to the challenging nature of Alzheimer’s disease and the need for around the clock care.
That is why supporting family caregivers is so important!
November is National Family Caregivers month. At Anthem Memory Care, we believe that it should extend beyond acknowledging the amazing work done by family caregivers and be used as an opportunity to learn more and take action to support them.
How can you help?
If you know someone caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, here are five things the Alzheimer’s Association suggests that you can do to support them:
- Learn more about the disease. Education is so important. There are plenty of resources available to anyone with a desire to learn.
- Give them a much-needed break. They may be hesitant to ask for help. So, if you are able to step in and give the caregiver a break, offer your help.
- Help them tackle their “to do” list. Errands, shopping, or making phone calls. All can help lift the day-to-day burdens off the caregiver.
- Help with holidays. Whether it’s baking, planning, or decorating, the holidays can bring extra stress to caregivers. Your help can make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone.
- Check in regularly. That weekly call or visit can make a big difference. And when you ask, “Can I help?” be prepared to do it.
While National Family Caregivers Month puts a much-needed spotlight on family caregivers, in reality they need our support every day of the year. It starts with all of us doing our part.
Make it a point to check in with the family caregivers in your life. And feel free to contact any of our Anthem Memory Care communities with questions and to learn more about our resources for family caregivers, such as respite care and our dementia support groups.