A survey conducted in 2011 by GfK Roper with nearly 700 caregivers of someone with Alzheimer’s disease reveals the impact that Alzheimer’s disease has on family caregivers. To see complete study visit: http://www.thefamilycaregiver.org/press_room/detail.cfm?num=165
Caregiving is incredibly stressful, and also very lonely and isolating, particularly with Alzheimer’s disease when the loved one gradually loses the ability to communicate effectively, said Suzanne Mintz, president and chief executive officer of NFCA
Caregiver Information: You may find these statistics very interesting regarding caregivers.
Gender: 60% Female, 40% Male
Age: 52.5 (mean) 7% “Millennial Caregivers”, under age 30, caring for grandparents
Ethnicity: 78% Caucasian; 15% African American; 12% Hispanic
Years Spent Caregiving: 4.1 years (mean)
Care recipients: 63% parents/in-law; 16% grandparents
Work Status: 49% full-time; 14% part-time; 24% retired
Family Status: 69% married; 21% parents with children under age 18
“The majority of caregivers are full-time employees (49 percent); some are part-time employees (14 percent) or retired (24 percent). Sixty-nine percent of caregivers are married and 21 percent are with children under the age of 18. The average number of caregiving years is 4.1. Among the caregivers surveyed, 72 percent of patients cared for are female, and 28 percent male. The average age of the patient is 82 years old, with 86 percent of patients 75 or older.”
Besides their loved one’s health and physical decline, losing the ability to communicate frightens all caregivers the most, according to the survey. When asked, “How do caregivers feel?” communication was indicated as the top stressor behind general health and physical capabilities. Over half of the caregivers are decreasing attempts to engage in conversations with their loved one. Three-fourths of the family caregivers indicated they have become better and more effective communicators. Caregivers have described mixed emotions such as, drained, exhausted, frustrated or impatient.
Despite the stress associated with communicating, most caregivers surveyed say they have learned to adopt new ways to communicate with the person they care for (71 percent) and feel they have become better communicators themselves (76 percent). The most common alternative methods of communication include observing facial expressions (84 percent) and body language (79 percent) and using pictures/photos (66 percent).