March 27th, 2008 by Richard Brassaw
There is an estimated 5.7 million Americans who care for an aging relative and also have children under 21 who still live at home; they are termed ‘sandwich caregivers’. As baby-boomers age there will be a marked increase of sandwich caregivers. A recent survey of sandwich givers concludes:
- 70% of sandwich caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients said they need more help.
- Only 33% of sandwich caregivers said they need more help with their children.
- 63% of sandwich caregivers would like more information to be available to help children understand and cope with a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
- 77% of sandwich caregivers were not aware combination drug therapy can be used to treat Alzheimer’s patient’s symptoms of cognitive ability decline, loss of function, and difficult behavior.
- Alzheimer’s patients received a delayed diagnosis of their condition–typically 2 years–because caregivers were not familiar with symptoms.
- Approximately half of caregivers believed the Alzheimer’s symptoms were normal signs of aging.
The survey showed that children 8-21, who were involved with care-giving, reported:
- Approximately one-third assisted with doctors’ appointments.
- 42% of young adults assist with transporting loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
- 25% of young adults (13-17) assist with activities of daily living–feeding and dressing.
- 90% of pre-teens (8-12) visit and entertain a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (small sample size).
- 85% of teens visit a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
Care-giving of Alzheimer’s patients is a multi-generational concern. Lives of young adults, teens, and pre-teens are impacted when involved with care-giving of an aging relative and/or loved one.
The study was performed by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA).