The recently released World Alzheimer Report 2013 Journey of Caring: An analysis of long-term care for dementia, “reveals that, as the world population ages, the traditional system of ‘informal’ care by family, friends, and community will require much greater support”. About 13% of people over age 60 need long-term care support currently. Dementia is the top reason for needing long-term care. About half of older people needing long-term care have dementia (and 80% of those in nursing homes). The worldwide cost of Alzheimer’s specialty care is about $600 billion.

The World Alzheimer’s Report makes a number of recommendations on the findings, including many government and systematic changes to prepare for and deal with Alzheimer’s specialty care needs. Some of the important recommendations include systems for monitoring quality of care in all settings, better coordination/integration of health and social systems to meet people’s needs, and valuing autonomy and choice in care.

The report suggests the importance of training and supporting Alzheimer’s caregivers, both paid and unpaid (and proper incentives to retain good paid caregivers and support the long-term care system as well as informal carers). Multi-pronged caregiver interventions (education, training, support and respite) maintain caregiver morale and reduce strain…the only approach that has been proven to reduce or delay transition in to a care facility. As the report also suggests, though Alzheimer’s specialty care can be complex and resource-intensive, the systems and services must be made as simple, seamless, transparent and accessible as possible. Families need guidance and support. Quality care management throughout the process is seen as the best method to accomplish this and provide continuity, trust and advocacy for the client and family.

Family carers and paid Alzheimer’s caregivers have much in common, carrying out demanding and socially useful roles but often with little preparation or support. The report emphasizes that we must value dementia caregivers of both types, building in incentives to retain good quality caregivers and support family caregivers. Our team at EasyLiving could not agree more with this assessment! 

As the report states, “Undervaluing of caregivers impacts negatively on the quality of care”. We have been working hard at EasyLiving to not only show our caregivers how valuable they are as well as support them in their work, but also to spread the message of quality caregiving more widely throughout the community. We dedicate our website to supporting caregivers in many ways, from our message of thanks/a tribute to caregivers to articles with resources for dementia caregivers and tips for Alzheimer’s Specialty Care. Our Caregiver Resource Center offers links and documents such as fact sheets, tips to download and care guides, all designed to make caregiving easier.

If you are a caregiver providing Alzheimer’s specialty care or a person facing a new diagnosis of dementia, we hope you will find these resources useful and we’d love to hear from you about other needs and ways we could help. We welcome your comments or phone calls (727-448-0900). Our Senior Care Consultant, Sue Talbott, provides a free needs analysis for any families needing assistance with home care, dementia care or other eldercare concerns. You can read more about our Alzheimer’s Specialty Care program, which is available to assist with repite or ongoing care needs throughout Pinellas and Pasco counties.

If you are an Alzheimer’s caregiver, here are a few quick tips and resources to get you started towards identifying the support you need:

  • Download our free Alzheimer’s Specialty Care guide. This is a great “training manual” and reference guide for dealing with different care issues and challenges.
  • Set up a care consultation. Get advice on where to start and consider developing a relationship with a care manager so you have a “go to” resource as things develop.
  • Identify some key resources. Connect with your local Alzheimer’s Association, check out a support group in person or online and review some of the resources online (from reputable sources) about topics that concern you.
We’re here to help! Contact us any time at 727-448-0900 for assistance.