Realizing that a family member has Alzheimer’s disease and will require additional care is something that few families are equipped to handle, especially if this news comes unexpectedly. Often times, family members opt to take on the role of caregiver to their loved ones that are experiencing signs of dementia, like Alzheimer’s, but those family members often enter this commitment unaware of the strain it may place on their personal lives. Approximately 25 percent of family caregivers who tend to loved ones with Alzheimer’s are also caring for children under the age of 18. Many taking on this role are in the workforce, and that sets forth an additional set of challenges.
The mounting challenges of caregiving
Among family members who provide care for a loved one, 60 percent are also employed, and in the future, people plan to work longer. As a result of these caregiving responsibilities, 61 percent of caregivers report making a workplace accommodation, such as going in late, leaving early, taking a leave of absence, turning down a promotion or retiring early.
Caregivers are exposed to heightened health risks, which impact their ability to provide care and perform as an employee. One study found that working family caregivers are 25 percent more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure and 50 percent more likely to experience daily physical pain than their colleagues who do not have caregiving responsibilities. The stress of caregiving takes a toll on physical and emotional wellbeing, as 19 percent of family caregivers report a high level of physical strain and up to 70 percent report symptoms of depression.
The home care solution
In these situations and others, home care services provided by professional home care providers can be of much needed assistance. When making the decision to utilize home care services, family members can rest assured that their loved one’s daily needs are being met while simultaneously having the availability to manage the responsibilities of their own lives. Most importantly, hiring a home care provider allows the individual being cared for to be at home and remain in their community, which can offer a great deal of security to families facing the disease. The sense of connectedness that comes from living at home offers care in a familiar environment and gives those with Alzheimer’s the ability to maintain their daily routines, which can serve as helpful to their care.
As the voice of home care industry, the Home Care Association of America sets high standards for our member providers who are equipped to care for clients with Alzheimer’s disease. To learn more about the value of home care or to find a home care provider near you, please visit the HCAOA website at www.hcaoa.org or email [email protected].
Phil Bongiorno, Executive Director, Home Care Association of America, [email protected]