In an interview last week with the Star Tribune Dr. Dan Trajano, Senior Medical Director of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota made the business case for supporting caregivers. In short, caregivers are on long-term care "first responders" and supporting them improves outcomes - and reduces costs.
As caregivers, we already knew this. Encouraging to know that some of our nations insurers and health care systems are beginning to understand our vital role, and have begun to support us.
Read the article here:
When a home care company uses the Care Card, they have the opportunity to receive more information about their client from day one. This ensures a higher quality of care that one may not find elsewhere. Having a home care company that truly knows your loved one not only puts families more at ease but also increases business due to higher rates of satisfaction and more referrals.
In the U.S. there are over 15 million family members caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's or dementia. They are often financially, emotionally and physically stressed to the breaking point, and receive little or no support from other family members or friends. I recently met with Susan Galeas, former CEO of Alzheimer's Greater Los Angeles and asked her to list the top three needs that might be on a caregiver's wishlist. Her response was sobering.
If you know someone one is a caregiver you should assume they could use your support, but probably won't ask for it. Take the initiative and offer to help, and don't take no for an answer.
This weekend we polled primary caregivers and asked them what one thing would have the greatest impact on their quality of life. Not surprisingly, the number one item on our caregivers' wish lists was increased financial resources -- by a factor of more than two to one over any other choice. "More money" was chosen by 33% of respondents, while 15% identified more sleep, more help from family, and assistance with chores as their number one wish list pick.
Our small survey underscores the duel stresses on families dealing with Alzheimer's, who must manage the devastating effects of the disease while at the same time often wondering how in the world to pay bills that will only increase over time. As we go through the 2016 primaries and general election, I hope that a candidate emerges who will address the catastrophic financial impact this disease has on families and communities alike.
The number of people impacted by Alzheimer's and dementia is sobering. On the front lines, caring for the 5 million people with the disease, are an estimated 15 million unpaid caregivers - the majority of them spouses or children. These people face incredible challenges physically, emotionally, and financially. Did you know that 59% of caregivers report being on call 24/7 for the last year of their loved one's life?
Most caregivers I know eventually reach a point where they feel completely helpless and hopeless. They exist day to day, just surviving.
It can feel hard to help a caregiver. They often don't ask for help, especially from friends, but they need your support. Here are a few things you can do that will makes a difference:
Need more ideas? Click here for a list of other suggestions, but not matter what, get off the sidelines and find a way to help.
If you have a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia or know someone who does, The Memory Kit can help.