The Baby Boomers, a generation defined by the boom in births following World War II, are aging. Advancements in medicine have resulted in people living longer. It is not surprising the number of ailments that primarily affect the elderly is skyrocketing.
One of those conditions is dementia. While there is a growing awareness of cases starting before age 65, dementia mainly affects the elderly. According to the World Health Organization, in 2019, over 55 million people were living with dementia. That figure is expected to reach 78 million in 2030. These statistics imply a new case every 3.2 seconds.
Dementia is extremely difficult for family members providing care. Even though dementia behaviors are symptoms of the disease and not personally targeted, coping with the behaviors is grueling.
Psychology Today reports five facts you should know about dementia caregiving:
- Dementia caregivers suffer higher rates of stress, anxiety, and depression than caregivers tending to other medical problems. Dementia caregivers also experience more health problems than those caring for other medical diagnoses.
- Nearly half (48%) of people providing care for the elderly do so for someone with dementia. Dementia can have long phases from preclinical to its last stage, making caregiving a long-term commitment. The complexity, hours, and level of care needed throughout the stages of dementia are staggering.
- Most people with dementia are not in a facility but rather with a family member. These home care providers are more than two-thirds women (67%), and more than one-third of these are daughters.
- Dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s, is the most expensive disease in America, costing more than heart disease and cancer. This is unsurprising as care is often needed 24/7 for years. While much of this cost is born through Medicare and Medicaid, for caregivers, there is still an out-of-pocket expense that is nearly twice that of caregivers providing care for other conditions.
- Approximately 60% of dementia caregivers are working about 35 hours a week in other traditional employment settings. Dementia caregivers are pushed beyond normal limits to provide a loved one’s care nearly 24/7 while still maintaining roughly full-time work.
The realities of dementia are daunting. My pro-tip: Have a properly drafted Power of Attorney in place before being faced with a dementia diagnosis. Not all Power of Attorney documents are equal. A properly drafted Power of Attorney provide families with options to engage in Medicaid Planning to protect your estate. Call 570-784-4654 to schedule an appointment with one of our Certified Medicaid Planners.