Why Alzheimer's and Other Dementia Caregivers Should Be Honored This Labor Day

It is estimated that there are over 50 million caregivers, of people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, worldwide. Learn what a hard job they have and why they deserve everyone's praise this Labor Day.
By: Susan Berg, Alzheimer's ideas
Aug. 24, 2008 - PRLog -- According to the United States government Labor Day, celebrates the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of America. Alzheimer's and other dementia caregivers certainly meet these criteria.

The first reason to honor these caregivers is for the financial burden they incur when caring for a person with dementia. First the family has consulted an Elder law attorney to get all the finances in order. Most likely the caregiver had to cut back on the hours of paid employment. Despite using all the resources out there, all expenses for the care of a dementia person will not be covered. That means go without, or pay for necessary items out of pocket.

The second reason to pay tribute to ones caring for someone with dementia is their resourcefulness. Caregivers are good at coming up with unique strategies for managing and paying for the supervision of their loved one. They may get help from attending a support group in person or online. However, they are the ones ultimately responsible for a workable plan of care.

Third is recognizing that many perform physically demanding aspects of a dementia persons' care. Many do the bathing, feeding and toileting of their family member with dementia. These tasks are difficult because many with dementia are confused and combative.

Next, these caregivers should be honored for all the time they devote to all aspects of a dementia persons' life. As just mentioned, most caregivers are responsible for the physical aspects of care. But they also must engage their loved one in meaningful activities throughout the day and sometimes well into the night. Fortunately many take advantage of adult day care to ease the burden. Unfortunately some dementia folks refuse to participate in or have behaviors that preclude them from attending these worthwhile programs.

The fifth reason for honoring those caring for a dementia person is all the time they devote to this job. The caregiver is most likely responsible for everything from cleaning to cooking to shopping to yard work. The list seems endless. These tasks are even more difficult because while the caregiver is doing them, he must also keep the dementia person safe.

It has also been reported recently that caregivers take longer to fall asleep despite being exhausted http://dementiatips.blogspot.com/2008/08/caregivers-take-... and that caregivers of dementia spouses enjoy life less http://dementiatips.blogspot.com/2008/08/caregivers-of-sp...
Not to mention one-quarter of spouses of those with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias are depressed  http://dementiaviews.blogspot.com/2008/08/one-quarter-of-...

Also according to a report published by the National Alzheimer's Association, ten million caregivers provided 83 billion dollars worth of care in 2005.

So this Labor Day while you are relaxing or celebrating the end of summer, think about those 50 million plus, Alzheimer's and other dementia, caregivers, and all the under appreciated hard work they do, everyday, seven days a week, sometimes 24 hours a day. If you know someone with this challenging task, call them, thank them and offer a helping hand.

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Alzheimer's ideas,features Susan Berg author of Adorable Photographs of Our Baby-Meaningful Mind Stimulating Activities and More,a book for those with dementia and an excellent resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals. Free information given
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