Two Studies Reveal Burden of Dementia on Caregivers
Unpaid caregivers – predominantly family members – for people with dementia provide more intensive care as well as more hours of care per month than caregivers for people with no dementia, according to two studies published in Health Affairs.
In one study, researchers found among older adults with dementia, 53.1 percent of informal caregivers provided help with intensive self-care activities (such as bathing, dressing, and eating) while only 10.7 percent of older adults without dementia needed self-care assistance. Further, nearly 40 percent of people with dementia required help with three or more self-care activities compared with just 14.4 percent with no dementia.
Another study found adults with dementia received an average of 171 hours per month of care from unpaid caregivers, significantly more than cognitively normal adults (66 hours/month). Additionally, African-American and Hispanic care recipients were much more likely to need intensive informal care than their white counterparts.
Given the large role informal caregivers play in the day-to-day health and care of people with dementia, the public health community can – consistent with the Public Health Road Map – help ensure health care professionals recognize the role of care partners in the care coordination of their loved ones (action item W-05).