Alzheimer’s disease impacts our patient’s population we served in South Florida. Many of the Baby Boomer generations are taking care of a family member with Alzheimer’ Disease, this daily care impacts the caregiver emotionally, physically and financially. In Florida, according to Florida Health Charts. Com, in 2016 there are over 5 million Americans who are living with Alzheimer’s disease and research predicts by 2050, there will be as many as 16 million impacted by this disease.
The cost of taking care of patients with Alzheimer’s’ disease is about 2 million plus dollars a year. Not only, the cost of taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease impacts the family’s budget; in addition, the caregiver deals with emotional, physical and psychosocial stress on a daily basis when taking care of someone with this disease. Also, the financial stress prevents the caregiver from getting a relief from the constant day to day stress. This may sound hopeless for the caregiver, however, the great news is that there is hope and help the caregiver can tap into for financial, physical and emotional assistance.
There are several resources available in the community for patients and their caregivers.
- The first resource – the Daycare. In each city, there are Daycare for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, where patients can attend 5 days a week Monday thru Friday from 9 am to about 4 pm in the afternoon. In the Daycare, the patients participate in social activities, games, music, and relaxation therapy. Additionally, the patients are monitored by a nurse who administers medications and Home health aides who assist with feeding, toileting, or any physical needs the patient may have. When the patients attend the daycare, the caregiver can have time for themselves to relax or take care of other household tasks.
- The second resource- the Alzheimer’s Resource Center to help with physical needs in the home, if the patient cannot attend daycare. With this program based on eligibility from Medicare and Medicaid, the center will send an aide to the house 3 to 5 times a week, to assist the patient with ADL’s such as bathing, dressing, helping with feeding, toileting and light cooking, such as prepare a light breakfast and light lunch. This will help the caregiver to focus on other tasks that need to be done in the house or take a breather while their loved ones are being cared for.
- The third resource – the Senior Care Services Center which provides transportation assistance for medical appointments, grocery shopping etc. This resource is available if requested, but all requests for appointments must be made 24 hours in advance. In addition to providing transportation for medical appointments, Senior Care services will also send an aide to the patient (geriatrics physicians) if the caregiver cannot make it to the medical appointment. Therefore, while the patient is at the appointment, the caregiver can take time for themselves and de-stress.
Written by: Elsie Justilien, APRN