The Working Mother Research Institute recently conducted a study of 1,204 current and former women caregivers who look after an aging loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. The findings help to shed light on how much this cognitive-impairing disease affects the caregiver.
The results show 82 percent of the current caregivers look after a loved one in their home or the senior’s home, and 39 percent of these women felt they did not have a choice. In addition, even though 75 percent feels as though they are able to provide care, 49 percent are overwhelmed and 36 percent are depressed.
“The findings are dramatic. Caretakers are providing hundreds of hours of assistance every month while juggling careers, marriages and kids,” said president of Working Mother Media Carol Evans. “The bottom line is that too many women find themselves caught in a role they did not anticipate, sustained only at great personal cost and with no clear end date.”
Caregivers reportedly felt as though the job was isolating them from their social lives. For instance, one third said they were unhappy with their social life and one in four haven’t been out to dinner or movie in six months. However, caregivers need to remember the importance of caring for their own health as well – and there is help out there.
“This study reinforces the fact that women take on the responsibility of caregiving. Alzheimer’s impacts many areas of their lives including career, relationships, children and their own health,” said Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer of the Alzheimer’s Association. “It is important for women to know that they can turn to the Alzheimer’s Association for guidance and resources for themselves and for the circle of people they support.”