Thursday, November 13, 2014

November is National Family Caregivers Month

All caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s – both women and men – face a devastating toll.

Alzheimer’s disease affects men and women equally and knows no social or economic boundaries. Today, over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including an estimated 200,000 under the age of 65.

It is estimated that there are 15.5 million caregivers caring for someone with Alzheimer’s across the nation. Caregiving is a costly job – financially, physically and emotionally. Alzheimer’s disease costs American society approximately $214 billion annually - taking into account everything from lost employee productivity to increased healthcare costs. More than 3 in 5 unpaid Alzheimer’s caregivers are women; among women caregivers who also work, 20 percent have gone from working full-time to part-time because of their caregiving duties.

As the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease grows, so will the needs of caregivers. Due to the physical and emotional toll of caregiving, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional healthcare costs of their own in 2013. Moreover, unlike most diseases, the financial and emotional impact of Alzheimer’s on the caregiver is nearly equal to that of the affected person, thus increasing its overall societal threat. 

To honor the many caregivers who may or may not receive thanks for their hard work, dedication, and love, November is National Family Caregivers Month.

During National Family Caregivers Month, contact your legislator and share what caregiving means to you. Urge them to place Alzheimer’s disease at the top of their health public policy agenda by advocating for adequate funding for care and support. For more on what you can do as an advocate, visit the Ohio Council of the Alzheimer's Association.

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