12 WAYS TO HELP AN ALZHEIMERS CAREGIVER

One in 10 Americans over age 65 years and almost half of those over age 85 years have Alzheimer’s disease or a related type of dementia.  Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, involves a gradual breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. Affected persons lose the ability to interpret information and send messages to their bodies to behave in certain ways. Over time they experience mental, emotional, behavioral and physical changes, necessitating increasing amounts of….

PROBATE BASICS

Probate is the legal process of transferring ownership of property from the decedent to his or her heirs either by accepting the validity of their last will and testament or by following the Kentucky laws of intestacy.  For a will to be valid, it must be “self-proven” or proven as valid in court by at least one of the witnesses.  A valid will can also be holographic: written entirely in the handwriting of the decedent, signed, and dated.

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CONTAINER GARDENING

Gardens are great, but they require a lot of time, labor and money. They also require land space and good soil. Container gardening skirts all these obstacles, offering reduced time, effort and costs, and can be enjoyed in an apartment or other home lacking a yard. Vegetables and herbs can be grown in containers on a balcony, patio or walkway.

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The average caregiver serves in this role for four years. Only 30 percent provide care for less than a year. Twenty-four percent provide care for more than five years, and 15 percent of caregivers provide care for 10 years or more.


More information about caregiving can be found at www.caregiver.org/caregiver-statistics-demographics

Though definitions and criteria vary, numerous studies of informal caregiving in the United States generally define a caregiver as an unpaid individual – spouse, partner, family member, friend or neighbor – who assists another person on a regular basis with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. The caregiver feeds the care receiver if necessary. He or she helps the person dress each morning and undress and prepare for bed each night. A caregiver may help the care receiver use the bathroom. If the care receiver is fully or partially incontinent, the caregiver changes diapers as needed. The caregiver often gives medicines. He or she may take the care recipient’s blood pressure or perform blood sugar tests or other medical procedures and keep a written record for the person’s physician.


About 43.5 million caregivers in the United States provided unpaid care to someone in the past 12 months, as reported by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP. About 34.2 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 years or older in 2015. Most of these (82 percent) cared for one other adult, but 15 percent cared for two adults and 3 percent cared for three or more adults. In 2015, the Alzheimer’s Association estimated about 15.7 million family caregivers were caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.

WHO ARE THE CAREGIVERS?

The average age of home caregivers is 49.2 years. Forty-eight percent are 18 to 49 years old and 34 percent are older than 65 years. The number of hours given to caregiving increases with the age of the caregiver. Caring for parents is the primary situation for caregivers between the ages of 50 and 64 years, with 70 percent of this group involved in parent care.


More than 75 percent of caregivers are female. Women may spend as much as 50 percent more time providing care than men. Sixty-five percent of care receivers are female, with an average age of 69.4 years. However, among caregivers who are spouses aged 75 years or more, both sexes provide equal amounts of care. Caregivers who spend 21 hours or more weekly at caregiving tasks are nearly four times more likely to be caring for a spouse or partner. Some studies show 36 percent of female caregivers perform the most difficult caregiving tasks, such as bathing, toileting and dressing, compared to 24 percent of male caregivers. Men, some studies find, are more likely to help with finances, arrangement of care and other tasks that, while important, are less physically burdensome. Forty percent of male caregivers were found to use paid assistance for a loved one’s personal care.

MARTHA EVANS SPARKS

Martha Evans Sparks is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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