New Study Finds Alzheimer's Caregivers' Health Affected

New Study Finds Alzheimer's Caregivers' Health Affected

11.22.11 | By Stien Vandierendonck

Below is a guest post from Stien Vandierendonck, from National Alliance for Caregiving. Established in 1996, the Alliance is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on issues of family caregiving. Alliance members include grassroots organizations, professional associations, service organizations, disease-specific organizations, a government agency, and corporations.

November is National Family Caregivers Month, an excellent opportunity to again emphasize the importance of caregivers around the country. In the US, there are over 65.7 million people who provide care for a family member or close friend, at an estimated $450 billion out-of-pocket expenses a year. While we all acknowledge the tremendous merits of their efforts, it is also important to highlight that the health of family caregivers may be adversely affected, especially as the caregiving continues and becomes more intense.

Yesterday, the National Alliance for Caregiving released our latest study, "Caregiving Costs: Declining Health in the Alzheimer's Caregiver as Dementia Increases in the Care Recipient," focusing on those who take care of someone with Alzheimer's disease (AD). This study shows that the health of the family caregiver decreases over time as their care recipient's dementia increases. As a result, family caregivers use health care services at higher rates than non-caregivers of the same age, which leads to an increase in the average annual health care cost of the caregiver - nearly $5,000 a year in extra health expenses.

The Alliance also works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues and has partnered with PhRMA to bring focus on Alzheimer's disease and those who provide care. Please watch A Caregiver's Story: Alzheimer's is a Cruel Disease and listen as Sabina Shalom shares the story of how her husband has gone from the man of her dreams to a man she barely knows. If you are touched by the story, you can help us support people like Sabina Shalom. By clicking "Like" on this video on Facebook, you are sending a clear message of support and through your feedback, PhRMA is making a generous donation to the Alliance for family caregivers everywhere.

To learn more about the Alliance and about family caregivers, and to support this important work directly, please visit us at or on our Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn pages.

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