Oct 21, 2010

Alzheimer's Disease Care Giving This Is Day 2,524 For Me

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Thanks to Maria Shriver and TIME magazine, Alzheimer's disease is in the spotlight this week. This is our time.

Sixty percent (60%) of Alzheimer's caregivers are women. Make that 60 percent of unpaid Alzheimer's caregivers are women. Most of these woman are family members. Somewhere in the area of 6.6 million women.

How about this number. In 2009 it was estimated that Alzheimer's caregivers provided 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care. This healthcare service contribution to the country is worth almost $144 billion. This number includes women and men.

Let's see. $144 billion in care costs divided by 11,000,000 caregivers equals $13,091 per caregiver.

Or. $144 billion in care costs divided by 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care equals $11.52 an hour. I guess I am worth $11.52 an hour. I'll take it.

This is day 2,524 for me (I have been on the job this long). 6 years, 10 months, and 28 days. 218,073,600 seconds. I think many of you will agree you are on the bull every second.

I might be fudging this numbers a bit. I think I had 1,656 hours off. Although, I was worried or concerned during those hours. So I had about 69 days off. About ten days a year. Of course, sometime I only had a few hours off in a given day. But my time off amounted to the equivalent of 69 full days.

No wonder I think this job is harder than working on Wall Street. I would have had around 931 days off.

By now you might be thinking, you should take a week off. Well maybe I will. Then I think. Would I worry much of the time?

One point I have been trying to make here is that much of the success I had with Dotty is the fact that we have a well defined pattern each day. Carole Larkin said to me, you created a cocoon. Never thought of it that way until she said it. I did create a nice safe, secure, well defined environment. Among many reasons, I believe this is one of the reasons Dotty stopped being mean to me.

Here are a few questions for the Collective Brain of the Alzheimer's Reading Room.

As far as I can tell the vast majority of stay at home caregivers are Baby Boomers or older. Mostly Boomers.

What are the children of the Boomers going to do when the Alzheimer's Tsunami hits in the next twenty five years?

Stay home and care? Dump us into the Medicaid system?

Will the government address the issue of this growing epidemic in the next five years? Ten years? Ever?

I still favor the model being used in Vermont and 3 other states. I wonder to myself, why aren't the other states doing this? Are they ignorant or uncaring?
"the federal government beginning in 2007, encouraged states to use less strict medical standards, and make Medicaid more widely available to those who could be cared for at home."
Yo Washington, encouragement doesn't work in this day and age. Stand UP.

You can read about the Vermont model here --

The Cost of the War on Alzheimer's Terrorism -- $24 a Day.

By the way, 11 million unpaid Alzheimer's caregivers times 24 hours a day times 365 days a year equals 96,360,000,000 hours.

That is 96 billion hours.

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,880 articles with more than 95,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room