What is a Caregiver?
A caregiver—sometimes called an informal caregiver—is an unpaid individual (for example, a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor) involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. Formal caregivers are paid care providers providing care in one's home or in a care setting (day care, residential facility, long-term care facility). For the purposes of the present fact sheet, displayed statistics generally refer to caregivers of adults.
Caregivers in the U.S.?
- Approximately 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months. [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.]
- About 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months. [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.]
- The majority of caregivers (82%) care for one other adult, while 15% care for 2 adults, and 3% for 3 or more adults. [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.]
- Approximately 39.8 million caregivers provide care to adults (aged 18+) with a disability or illness or 16.6% of Americans. [Coughlin, J. (2010). Estimating the Impact of Caregiving and Employment on Well-Being: Outcomes & Insights in Health Management.]
- About 15.7 million adult family caregivers care for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or other dementia. [Alzheimer's Association. (2015). 2015 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures.]
Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter
Karen Tennyson with the Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter advised with nearly 600,000 unpaid Illinois caregivers providing 670 million hours of care to people with Alzheimer's disease, we they address the needs of the caregiver simultaneaously with those of the care recipient to improve their quality of life. Anyone in need of emotional support, tools and referrals to assist caregivers can contact the Alzheimer's Associations 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900. The association offers a full complement of educational programming provided in-person or accessible via the web or phone. Karen stated, "our early-stage, young onset and caregiver support services provide encouragement, information and empowerment while allowing for a safe place to share the caregiving experience".
Karen stated, "As a member of the Illinois Chapter team, a large portion of my efforts center on helping caregivers and families find their way through Alzheimer’s disease and the journey of caregiving. Our Care Navigation service enables the caregiver to focus on a variety of practical issues and examine the emotional components of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Together, we develop an individualized action plan that addresses the caregiver’s specific needs and goals for present and future caring. To assist with fulfilling the action plan steps, I provide caregivers with resource referrals, education, tools and support during and after the appointment. The appointment lasts about 90 minutes and can be done in person, via Skype or over the phone. This service is free of charge."
For assistance please call the Alzheimer's Associations 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900. Also explore their website for additional information at www.alz.org/Illinois .
Caregiver Advisory Services and Frequently Asked Questions (answered by Wonea who is the caregiver advisor for McLean, Livingston and DeWitt counties):
Can a loved one be paid to care for a family member? DRS has a program, but that is for people under 60. Yes. If the person is on the Community Care Program the loved one would have to contact one of our contracted providers to go through the application process. Loved ones who are POAs can not be a paid caregiver if the client is on the Community Care Program.
How can I deal with the challenging behaviors of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, without losing my patients or upsetting them? Being educated on the disease if very important. By learning the different triggers and behaviors associated with the disease can better prepare you on how to respond. Becoming part of a support group to learn how other caregivers cope with the disease is helpful also.
Who can help get loved one signed up for Medicaid, if nursing home placement is in the near future? SHIP counselors at Community Care Systems, Inc. can assist with the application process, the nursing home social worker/administrative staff can assist also, and your Caregiver Advisor can assist with the Medicaid application.
My other siblings and I don’t see eye to eye on the care for my parent, can anyone sit down with us to discuss options or be a mediator? Your Caregiver Advisor can sit with the family to discuss options that would be best for a family's loved one.
If I need to find care for my loved one, but they make too much money for assistance, how do I get a list of qualified providers or can someone help us located a qualified provider? Your local Case Coordination Unit can provide you with a list of private pay in home providers.
I am in need of a break from caring for my loved one, how can I go about finding assistance and how long of a break can I take? Through the Caregiver Advisory Program there are respite funds. There is a $500.00 a year cap per household. The Caregiver Advisor determines the amount a household can receive. There is also the Adult Day Services program that can provide supervised care for older adults Sometimes there are respite funds available to help provide relief for a caregiver.
Great reads for Caregivers: (all articles pulled from Today's Caregiver eNewsletter)