November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. During November, the Alzheimer’s Association is focusing its attention on an important intersection between these two events – the unique challenges facing Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers.
It is estimated that more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Here in Oklahoma, there are 222,000 providing care to 62,000 people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Caregiving, however, can take a severe emotional, physical toll on the individual providing it.
The Oklahoma Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association provides local support and programs for family members and everyone facing this devastating disease. Key resources available around the clock include:24/7 Helpline – Offers confidential support and information by master's level clinicians and specialists on a variety of Alzheimer's-related topics. Help is available all day, every day at 800.272.3900, in more than 100 languages Alzheimer's Navigator® – Creates customized action plans of information and support. Community Resource Finder – Allows caregivers to find local resources by zip code. ALZConnected® – Connects caregivers with others to share common problems, challenges and potential solutions. A comprehensive list of caregiver stress warning signs and tips for addressing them. A Caregiver Stress Check to help caregivers identify areas where they may need help and where they can get it. An online Community Resource Finder that can direct Oklahoma residents to local care resources in our area.
These resources are critically important in the face of national statistics of caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias:Fifty-nine percent rated their emotional stress as high or very high. Additionally, about 40 percent of family caregivers suffer from depression. Caregivers experience work-related challenges when they begin caregiving. Fifty-four percent had to go in late or leave early, and 15 percent had to take a leave of absence. On average, care contributors lose more than $15,000 in annual income as a result of reducing or quitting work to meet the demands of caregiving.