Saturday, April 6, 2013

Caregiving Costs Calculated for Dementia Care

You may have seen or heard about the newly released study on the anticipated rise in dementia diagnoses. There was a front page article on this in the New York Times earlier this week and I have attached the link at the bottom of this post.

Do take a look at the article if you have not seen it yet. There are implications for all of us even if we are not currently caring for someone with a form of dementia. The numbers are startling. Here is just one: According to the RAND study there are currently 3.8 million people in the United States with dementia. That is 15% of people over age 70. By 2040 --less that 30 years from now--it is expected that there will be 9.1 million people with dementia. And of course, we often forget, that increase doesn't happen 30 years from begins now, this year and then next year and then the year after that--to increase. And that means us.

Now here is the part of the article that jumped out at me: Dr Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging said, "And as we have the Baby Boomer group maturing, there are going to be more older people with fewer children to be informal caregivers." (Again, he's talking about us.)

And really interesting to those of us who are interested in caregiving: The study quantified the value of informal caregiving required for dementia--usually provided at home or by a mix of family and friends and estimated that the cost will range from $50 million to $106 million PER YEAR.

And again that is absolutely us because whether or not we care for  a family member with dementia or we are the family member with dementia, we are all tax payers and that is where the remedy to that "cost of caregiving" hit will come.  It also means that in two-income families, one wage-earner will give up a job to be the primary caregiver.

We have some big homework to do on preventing and managing dementia, and we need much more open and focused conversations on cost/benefits of our "good" healthcare and yes, the right to die, if dementia is on our personal horizon.

Here is the link to the New York Times article:

1 comment:

Senior Personal Care South Florida said...

This is exactly what we need to do with elder day care services. We have to make sure that the seniors are cared for in a professional manner.