Leadership

National Alzheimer’s Month Spotlights Caretaker Fatigue, Resources

By / Jun 9, 2017 (KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Thinkstock)

The Alzheimer’s Association is taking advantage of the national limelight to distribute information and resources to its audience.

Most of the 15 million Americans who are providing unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia feel they could use more help, according to a new survey [PDF] from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Two-out-of-three caregivers felt isolated or alone in their situation, and 84 percent of them would like more support with care-giving tasks, particularly from their family, according to the survey.

The Alzheimer’s Association released the survey in conjunction with June’s Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. The organization is taking advantage of the national spotlight to provide fresh resources for those battling the disease, such as caregiver workshops, a video series that features insights from those living with Alzheimer’s, and a new infographic with tips on tackling family tension.

Awareness and research are becoming more important as the U.S. population ages. Currently, 5.5 million Americans have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, according to the association. The disease has no known cure.

While research into the disease is ongoing, without a breakthrough, the group reports that the number of Americans age 65 and older diagnosed with the disease is expected to triple by 2020.

“The emotional, financial, and healthcare burdens of Alzheimer’s disease on families that have not planned for it is going to adversely impact personal retirement plans as well as the public healthcare system they rely on,” said Christopher Smith, executive director of the NYC chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, in a recent statement. “With so many baby boomers reaching retirement and the high-risk years for Alzheimer’s, there is a real cause for concern.”

But there is some good news on the research front: In May, Congress  signed into law a $400 million increase in Alzheimer’s research funding, boosting federal funding at the National Institutes of Health to nearly $1.4 billion. The Alzheimer’s Association and its sister organization, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), applauded the early May  move by lawmakers.

“This is the latest in a series of policy victories in the fight to end Alzheimer’s, but more work remains. As the leading voice for those affected by the disease, the Alzheimer’s Association, AIM, and our advocates will continue to work with Congress to ensure continued bipartisan support for urgently needed research funding increases and access to necessary care and support services,” said Harry Johns, Alzheimer’s Association and AIM president and CEO, in a statement.

Juliet Van Wagenen

Juliet Van Wagenen is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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