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Home » Announcements » Workshop to help caregivers understand Alzheimers takes place Nov. 4 at CVRMC

Workshop to help caregivers understand Alzheimers takes place Nov. 4 at CVRMC

Caring for a family member or friend afflicted with Alzheimer’s? Family caregivers as well as professionals are invited to a workshop at Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center on Monday, Nov. 4.

Heather Mulder, from Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, will speak on the topic “Understanding Alzheimers” and Dorothy Dunn, from the College of Health and Human Services at Northern Arizona University, will be speaking on communication strategies.

The workshop is free, with lunch included. To pre-register, call Ginger or Terry at 520-836-2758 or 800-293-9393, or email gingerf@pgcsc.org

Caregiver Health Consequences

A post at uspharmacist.com reports that caring for a loved-one with Alzheimer’s disease often leads to primary caregivers neglecting their own needs to focus on their relative or patient. Nearly all caregivers experience some sort of impact on their health.

Almost one-half of all caregivers are older than 50 years, making them more vulnerable to a decline in their own health and 74% are concerned about their own health. Effects on AD caregivers include sleep deprivation (77%), less exercise (69%), gaining or losing weight (66%), strains or aches (63%), high stress/anxiety (60%), poor eating habits (56%), depression (40%) and putting off their own medical care (20%).

Alzheimer’s disease causes nerve cells in the brain to gradually die, affecting a person’s memory and thinking ability. More than 5.2 million Americans aged 65 years and older have AD. According to the National Institutes of Health, in 2015, nearly 16 million family members and friends provided 18 billion hours of unpaid care to persons with AD at an estimated cost of $221 billion.

Caregiver Characteristics

A primary caregiver may be a spouse, parent, child, grandchild or friend. In the United States, 65% of caregivers to adults are female, 6% are spouses, 15% have been caregiving for 10 years or more, 23% live with the care recipient and 53% are the primary caregiver. Many caregivers who work and provide care experience conflicting demands from these responsibilities. In 2000, of 22 million family caregivers (of whom 15 million were caregivers for AD), baby boomers made up 40% and 19% were providing care for both a parent and a child. The average caregiver is a 46-year-old woman who works outside the home while spending 18 hours each week caring for her mother, according to a study.

Support Services

In 2010, 700,000 caregivers received services through the National Family Caregiver Support Program, helping them manage their caregiving responsibilities while keeping their loved ones at home as long as possible.

Programs included access-assistance services, counseling and training for coping with caregiving stresses, and respite services for temporary relief from caregiving responsibilities. Administration on Aging data showed that the services helped family caregivers keep their loved ones at home.

Nearly 40% of caregivers provided care for two to five years, 29% gave care for five to 10 years, 77% said that these services enabled them to provide care longer than otherwise possible and 89% reported that the services helped them be a better caregiver. Nearly one-half of caregivers of nursing home–eligible patients stated that the patient could not have remained at home without support services.

Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens is sponsoring the workshop for those dealing with dementia care. Read more about the council at pgcsc.org

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