The Care Roundtable is working to improve the system of care for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as their caregivers and families. The Roundtable is comprised of a diverse group of community partners including caregivers, community-based organizations, residential, day and home providers, healthcare providers, experts in dementia care, and staff from various divisions of the County’s Health and Human Services Agency.
The Care Roundtable have examined what is currently working well in San Diego County’s Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias (ADOD) system of care and what needs to be improved. From that assessment they have formulated and prioritized recommendations for improving the region’s ADOD care system, both with and without new resources. The recommendations were categorized into the following focus areas:
There were more than 145,400 San Diegans providing unpaid care for an
estimated 64,000 people living with ADOD in San Diego County in 2014.
These caregivers provided nearly 165 million hours of unpaid care,
valued at nearly $2 billion dollars in 2014. By 2030, there will be
approximately 93,500 people age 55 years and over with ADOD in San
Diego County. The increase in the number of San Diegans living with
ADOD will require about 213,300 caregivers to provide 242.8 million
hours of unpaid care a year valued at $3.02 billion. However, there
will be fewer family caregivers available because many baby boomers
are single and any adult children often live far away.
Caregivers face unique challenges and often have more than one person for which they provide care. Nationally, over half of ADOD caregivers were taking care of their own parents and 30% of all ADOD caregivers had children still living at home. These caregivers are referred to as “sandwich generation caregivers” because they have both children and parents dependent on them. The work required of all caregivers, including the physical tasks, organization and planning required can lead to increased emotional stress, depression and financial hardships. Financial hardships can result from both personal finances used to cover costs of care as well as loss of wages due to missing work. These stressors can result in poor health for the caregivers and the demands on caregivers of people living with ADOD can leave little time for managing their own health. In 2014, the health care costs to San Diego County caregivers due to the physical and emotional impact of caregiving were approximately $80.2 million. By 2030, the health care costs of unpaid caregivers will increase to $117.6 million a year.
Eighty percent of individuals with Alzheimer's are cared for at home by a family member, who may not have the preparation or training and are often overwhelmed by the complexities and challenges of managing the symptoms of the disease, as well as the legal and financial aspects. Then, there is the heartbreak of watching the disease steal the memories, judgment, independence, capabilities, and life of someone you love.
ADOD affects individuals in different ways, thus requiring different degrees and types of care for each person. Generally, caregiving often involves assistance with one or more activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing and dressing. Other ADLs that caregivers often become responsible for include household chores, shopping, and meal preparation.
As ADOD progresses, there are other activities that many caregivers eventually take over, including management of medications and medical care to organizing legal affairs and managing finances. Furthermore, in the late stages of ADOD, those affected often require around-the clock care.
To learn more about caregivers in San Diego County please refer to the Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias in San Diego County reports below by clicking on the icon.
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