Giving Compass’ Take:
• Family caregivers have emerged into health care as a population that needs support and extra resources to help their patients.
• What are the challenges in providing training guides and intervention tips to caregivers? Why can’t more community organizations get involved in providing extra assistance?
• Read about the hardships for caregivers of the aging population.
Family care of an older adult has emerged as an essential element of the U.S. health care system, with 83 percent of long-term care provided to older adults coming from family members or other unpaid helpers. As the population of older adults grows, so too does the expectation of family care for persons living with dementia.
We have engaged in decades of research, documenting the impact of dementia caregiving on the health and well-being of the caregiver. We have also conducted research to create evidence-based interventions that can be defined as structured programs with positive results that have been scientifically proved through clinical trials.
We have learned much from family caregivers who report that the amount and type of care expected of them is growing, and have concluded that caregiving demands should be matched by community-based support systems.
We have advocated for the adoption of one evidence-based intervention, called REACH II (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health II), which is designed to help caregivers manage daily care into health care and community-based organizations.
Family caregivers experience multiple challenges daily when caring for a person with dementia, whose care needs steadily increase as cognitive abilities decline. Care burdens can have high physical, emotional and financial costs.
Interventions that combine education about dementia and advice about specific “do’s and don’t’s” of dementia care with guided training and practice appear to be of greatest value to family caregivers. This approach of providing multiple types of support and training allows the intervention to address the vast spectrum of challenges faced by caregivers and allows support and training activities to be tailored to the unique needs of each family.
Read the full article about family caregivers by Sandhya Sanghi, Marcia G. Ory, Alan Stevens, and Carole White at The Conversation
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