A recent AP-NORC Poll shows an alarming trend among Americas caregivers and it’s not good.
According to the survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, up to a third of caregivers have put off their own physical and dental care, put off needed tests or treatment and even neglected needed prescriptions - for themselves! All because they were too busy taking care of their loved ones.
The poll states that ‘Four in 10 Americans have provided long-term care to an older relative or friend… and nearly a quarter of them, especially caregivers who are over 40, spend time on caregiving duties equivalent to a full-time job.’
Also noted in the poll:
- "Nearly 40 percent of caregivers have a health problem, physical disability or mental health condition that impacts their daily life or limits their activities."
- "44 percent sleep less [as a result of caregiving], and 17 percent increase alcohol or tobacco use."
- Less than a quarter of caregivers have talked to their personal doctors about their roles.
The caregiver health care crises
When caregivers go to medical appointments with the seniors they care for, the poll found much or most of the time they are not getting information about self-care, support programs or other services which could help them as caregivers during those visits. Why is this the case?
According to University of Pittsburgh aging specialist Richard Schulz ‘The health system marginalizes caregivers partly because there’s no way to bill for assessing caregivers during someone else’s visit, but also because doctors don’t always know what community resources are available to recommend’.
"Caregivers and their charges 'should be treated simultaneously,... 'They should be looked at as a unit,' because if the caregiver burns out, the patient may have no one left." - University of Pittsburgh aging specialist Richard Schulz
The Role of Adult Foster Care Homes To Assist Caregivers
Most states in the U.S. have Adult Foster Care homes or similar senior care homes regulated by the states which provide residential settings with 24-hour personal care, protection, and supervision for individual seniors. And many of those homes offer Adult Day Care for Seniors.
If a caregiver needs a few hours away from caregiving every week, seniors can spend time at an adult day care center. Some adult day care centers are more structured than others with specific times assigned for activities. Other adult day cares are less structured and give their members more time to socialize. This is one valuable option for a caregiver to get the time needed to care for themselves.
By searching our website, or taking advantage of your states government licensing website, you can find Adult Foster Care homes near you that offer day care as well.
The enormous cost of caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease
The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is expected increase $20 billion this year compared with last year, totaling more than $277 billion in 2018, according to a report released by the Alzheimer's Association.
The report, “2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures” showed that of the $277 billion cost, $186 billion will be paid by Medicare and Medicaid, , $60 billion will be out-of-pocket costs and $30 billion will be related to other costs.
What is perhaps even more startling is that this enormous cost of caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease does not include the cost associated with Unpaid Caregiving. The topic of Unpaid Caregiving is one much discussed here on Senior Home Search.
Healthcare, long-term care and hospice care for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050 - Alzheimer’s Association
In a sobering statement, Keith Fargo, Ph.D., director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer's Association said “Soaring prevalence, rising mortality rates and lack of an effective treatment all lead to enormous costs to society,” and relating to the effect on all of us he revealed “Alzheimer's is a burden that's only going to get worse.”
What can be done to reduce the tremendous cost of Alzheimer’s care?
Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's during the mild cognitive impairment stage of the disease could save the country as much as $7.9 trillion in healthcare and long-term care expenses, according to an accompanying special report titled “Alzheimer's Disease: Financial and Personal Benefits of Early Diagnosis,” which highlights new economic modeling data.
“The disease is better managed, there are fewer complications from other chronic conditions and unnecessary hospitalizations are avoided,” Fargo said. “The sooner the diagnosis occurs, the sooner these costs can be managed and savings can begin.”
Earlier diagnosis could save individuals approximately $64,000 each, but costs still would average $360,000 per person, according to projections.
Also in the reports:
- Deaths from Alzheimer's disease increased by 123% between 2000 and 2015. By contrast, the number of deaths from heart disease, the top cause of death in the United States, decreased 11% during that time.
- An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's dementia now, and 5.5 million of this total are people who are at least 65 years old.
- The number of people aged 65 or more years with Alzheimer's is estimated to increase by almost 29% to 7.1 million by 2025. The number of people aged 65 or more years who have Alzheimer's may almost triple to 13.8 million by 2050, barring the development of medical breakthroughs.
How Should We Address The Rising Cost Of Alzheimer’s And Dementia ?
Around the time of the release of this startling information about the rising cost of Alzheimer’s care, a group of 14 senators led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), founder and co-chair of the Senate Alzheimer's Task Force, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have asked President Trump to boost funding allocated for Alzheimer's research in the fiscal year 2019.
For the first time in history those 65 and over are expected to exceed the number of children in U.S.
By the year 2035, Americans age 65 and older are forecast to outnumber kids for the first time. The U.S. Census Bureau has projected that the population of older adults will surpass children by almost two million in 2035, after increasing almost five million to 78 million. The growth rate of the population of children, those under age 18, is projected to be much slower.
The U.S. will join other countries with large aging populations - Jonathan Vespa, U.S. Census Bureau
This change in demographics is now developing in the U.S., however the trend in other countries, notably Japan and some nations in Europe, is already well underway.
Some countries in Western Europe have populations that are older than in the U.S., especially in Germany, Italy, France and Spain. Countries in Eastern Europe are even further along and, within a few years, many of their populations are projected to begin shrinking.
Why Is This Age Shifting Happening
In the past higher fertility rates and significant international migration have helped stave off an aging population and the country has remained younger as a result. But this appears to be changing. Americans are having fewer children and the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s has not yet been repeated. Fewer babies, plus longer life expectancy, equals a United States that is aging faster.
The driving force behind America’s aging is the baby boomers - They swelled the ranks of the young when they were born and then the workforce as they entered adulthood.
Now, the Baby Boomer generation will expand the number of older adults as they age. Starting in 2030, when all boomers will be older than 65, older Americans will make up 21 percent of the population, up from 15 percent today.
By 2060, nearly one in four Americans will be 65 years and older, the number of 85-plus will triple, and the country will add a half million centenarians (over 100 years old).
The Results Of The Senior Shift
With this swelling of the number of older adults, the U.S. could see greater demands for healthcare, in-home caregiving and assisted living facilities, nursing homes and other senior living options such as Adult Foster Care homes and Board and Care homes. It could also affect Social Security. It is projected that there will be three-and-a-half working-age adults for every older person eligible for Social Security in 2020. By 2060, that number is expected to fall to two-and-a-half working-age adults for every older person.
By 2030, it is projected that more than 60% of this generation will be managing more than 1 chronic condition. Managing these chronic conditions, along with a patient’s level of disability, will increase the financial demands on our health care system. The cost of health care may increase with the number of chronic conditions being treated, taking into account the expected twice as many hospital admissions and physician visits for Baby Boomers by 2030. There are certain health conditions that are expected to be a challenge to our health care system with the increasing aging population. These conditions include cancer, dementia, increase in the number of falls, obesity, and diabetes.
Another result of the Senior Shift will be a historic increase in the number of deaths every year.
Deaths are projected to reach more than 3.6 million in 2037, 1 million more than in 2015. As the nation’s baby boomers age, the number and percentage of people who die will increase dramatically every year, peaking in 2055 before leveling off gradually.
Other results of an aging America will present challenges to labor markets, government tax collections, government spending and the wider economy.
And as this trend of increased percentages of older Americans continues, the U.S. is fast heading towards a demographic first. It will become grayer than ever before as older adults outnumber kids.
See The Census Bereau Story HERE
Careers In Caregiving -
How to Become a Professional Independent Caregiver.
Becoming a PAL (Personal Assistant for Living) or professional caregiver is a wonderful career path to chose. Not only will you be in great demand, you will also reap the rich rewards that come from truly helping others in a very personal and up front way. If you use the tools we present and develop a strong base you will find yourself looking forward to work each day as new and very real experiences await you.
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