New Alzheimer’s report highlights caregiver challenges in Maine
Despite some progress, a new report finds the burden on Maine Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers is growing.
Maine (WABI) - Despite some progress, a new report finds the burden on Maine Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers is growing.
“If we don’t do something to change the trajectory of the disease, then the numbers are going to double by mid-century,” said Drew Wyman, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Maine Chapter.
A new Facts and Figures report from the Alzheimer’s Association shows there were an estimated 51,000 dementia family caregivers across the state last year, providing 87 million hours of unpaid care valued at $1.9 billion.
“MaineCare is spending over 200 million a year on Alzheimer’s. It is the costliest disease in the country,” said Wyman.
Wyman says while fighting the disease is costly, many caregivers face health-related challenges.
In Maine, 60.8% of caregivers reported at least one chronic condition and 30.8% of caregivers reported depression.
“Shocker, right? This is tough work,” he said. “This is something that someone should not attempt alone, and the late stages are the longest. About 13% of caregivers report that they are in poor physical health, so it’s a physically and emotionally demanding job.”
The new report also highlights the need for direct care workers across the country.
The Alzheimer’s Association says an estimated 1.2 million additional direct care workers will be needed over the next ten years, more new workers than in any single occupation in the United States.
“There are 20 states that are classified as neurology deserts, and Maine is definitely one of those,” he said.
There are 29,000 people 65 and older living with the disease in Maine, and there are many undiagnosed.
Wyman adds if you or someone you know are dealing with memory issues, contact your primary care provider.
“Our job is to really educate the general public on what to look for in warning signs and where to go for help,” he said. “A big part of that is our 24/7 helpline that 800-272-3900 number that we continually push and welcome anyone to call with questions at any time.”
Next week, advocates from the Alzheimer’s Association Maine Chapter will be in our nation’s capital for the annual AIM (Alzheimer’s Impact Movement) advocacy forum.
They’ll take part in a rally Monday outside the White House. Tuesday, they’ll meet with Maine’s delegation.
Senator Susan Collins is a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease.
She and Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia are leading a bipartisan group, pushing for improved access to Alzheimer’s treatment.
Click here to learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association.
You can call the free, 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.
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