February 2013 Anna Betancourt

February  2013  Anna Betancourt

Checking In On Your Elderly Parents…

I have had personal experience dealing with Dementia and my 86y/o mom.

It came as a surprise to me that her mental state had declined, and I hadn’t been informed. A reminder to all who have elderly parents. These are two excellent links to become familiar and informed.

Health professionals sometimes discuss dementia in “stages,” which refers to how far a person’s dementia has progressed. Defining a person’s disease stage helps physicians determine the best treatment approach and aids communication between health providers and caregivers. Sometimes the stage is simply referred to as “early stage”, “middle stage” or “late-stage” dementia, but often a more exact stage is assigned, based on a person’s symptoms.

One of the most commonly used staging scales is the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia (GDS), which divides the disease process into seven stages based on the amount of cognitive decline. The GDS is most relevant for people who have Alzheimer’s disease, since some other types of dementia (i.e. frontotemporal dementia) do not always include memory loss.

Informal Caregivers in the United StatesCaregivers in the United States provide long-term care and support for loved ones who have been incapacitated by accidents, illness, or terminal disease. The contributions made by caregivers are huge:

More than 44 million individuals in the US serve as informal and unpaid caregivers (AARP, 2004), nearly 15 million of whom are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s (Marcus 2011)The majority of these individuals – 80% of them – are caring for someone who is related to them (NAC & AARP, 2004).

The efforts of informal and family caregivers amount to $375 billion in 2007 (AARP 2008).

Dementia Caregivers in the United States

An estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer’s Association, 2009). The majority (70%) of these individuals live at home where they receive 75% of their care from informal caregivers (FCA, 2009).

Caregivers for persons with dementia often bear a heavier burden as compared to other caregivers. In fact, 25% of these caregivers provide at least 40 hours a week of care for their loved one (AA & NAC, 2004).

Furthermore, nearly 33% of dementia caregivers are also caring for children under the age of 18 in their household (AA & NAC, 2004)


Initiative 522 and its impact on the consumer

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