A Personal Pledge To Support a Caregiver in My Life
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Sponsor: The Alzheimer's Site
Alzheimer's impacts everybody. Let's take care of our caregivers.
The cruel reality of a degenerative disease such as Alzheimer's is that it doesn't merely impact the patient who has been diagnosed. All too often, we forget the ripple effect such an illness has on the friends, loved ones, and family members surrounding the person with Alzheimer's. Many of these people are also caregivers directly responsible for keeping the patient safe and as healthy as possible.
Being a caregiver is one of the most incredibly challenging and generous acts of love any of us will ever perform on behalf of another. Fear, exhaustion, anger, depression, guilt, and grief are often part of the experience. Harboring negative feelings doesn't make the caregiver a bad person, but it can have a negative impact on their daily lives and long-term emotional well-being.
Unpaid caregivers in the United States provided around 17.7 billion hours of care for their loved ones in 2013. At least 85% of those caregivers are family members1.
A majority of unpaid caregivers for Alzheimer's patients are women. Women make up 63% of the caregivers, especially in cases where the patient is a spouse and requires constant care2. A poll conducted by the Alzheimer's Association found that 16% of caregivers polled were caring for a spouse. Further, wives caring for husbands was twice as common as husbands caring for wives with dementia2.
Every 65 seconds someone develops Alzheimer's disease, and we are currently on track to see 13.8 million people living with the disease by 2050, which makes caregivers even more critical3.
But caregivers need to be cared for as well.
The work caregivers do increases their risk for emotional distress and negative mental and physical health outcomes4. And the burden spouse caregivers face with increased healthcare costs is compounded.
Sign and share this pledge today to honor a caregiver in your life and to raise awareness about the need for support networks that directly address the special needs of caregivers.
- Alzheimer's Association (2021), "Facts and Figures."
- American Senior Communities (14 October 2014), "The Impact of Alzheimer's Disease on Caregivers."
- Texas Health and Human Services (1 March 2021), "What is Alzheimer's Disease? Questions and Answers."
- Alzheimer's Association (10 March 2020), "2020 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures."
I personally pledge to:
Recognize the incredibly difficult work of a caregiver in my life.
Remember that caregivers have special needs and stresses of their own, including fear, exhaustion, anger, depression, guilt, and grief.
Realize that I can take an pro-active role in helping to relieve these stresses by offering to help with personal errands, childcare, healthcare-related research.
Endeavor to offer a smile, hug, or kind word, whenever I see the occasion.
Use any opportunity I can to raise awareness about the needs of caregivers in my community.
Share this pledge with friends and family via social media or email and encourage them to pledge as well.