More than four out of five said caregiving has negatively impacted their emotional health
Denville, NJ, September 25, 2017 – Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is a fact of life for one third of New Jersey residents. In a recent survey conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind on behalf of Alzheimer’s New Jersey, one-third (29%) of the respondents said that they are currently or have taken care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia. Women caregivers outnumbered men, with 33% of women and 25% of men serving in that role. The majority of caregivers are essentially spread equally between the 35-59 and 60+ age groups, yet 16% of 18-34 year olds also serve in that role.
Alzheimer’s New Jersey® (formerly the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater New Jersey Chapter) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to respond to the needs of people in New Jersey who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, by providing programs and community partnerships that increase awareness and access to services.
Alzheimer’s is taking a toll on New Jersey caregivers’ lives. More than four in five (85%) said that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease has had a negative impact on their emotional health. Women are hit harder than men, with more women (42%) than men (31%) saying it has affected their emotional well being “a great deal.” The “sandwich generation,” people caring for both their growing families and their aging parents, felt the most dramatic impact on their emotional health. More respondents ages 35-59 (47%) than in any other age group said they experienced a great deal of negative emotional effects.
Family relations are also put under pressure. Overall, 72%, or nearly three in four, said their family relations are strained by caregiving, with that concern being voiced fairly equally across all age groups.
One of the contributing factors to caregiver stress and strain is the amount of time it takes, in addition to normal daily tasks. The survey shows that 51% of caregivers spend more than 20 hours per week on caregiving activities. Overall, 27% devote more than 40 hours per week.
Getting support is vital for the Alzheimer’s caregiver. When asked how many family members assist in the caregiving, the majority (53%) said they receive help from one or two other people. Only 16% do it alone, with more women (22%) than men (8%) providing unassisted care.
“These findings show that not only are there a significant number of people serving as caregivers – one third of the state of New Jersey – but that it takes an enormous toll on them, beginning with their emotional health. We know that caregiving can be overwhelming, which can lead to feelings of stress, isolation, lack of control and depression,” said Ken Zaentz, President and CEO of Alzheimer’s New Jersey. “New Jersey caregivers need help, and that’s what we are here to provide. Our wide range of community programs and services offer hands-on support for families that are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and include our Respite Care and Wellness Program, Family Support Groups, Community Education Programs and Helpline.”
Additional findings show that overall, 65% say that their financial situation has been impacted. This factor is equally felt across gender and all age groups. Impact on physical health was the lowest ranking factor, but not insignificant – a full 60% said that caregiving affected their physical well-being.
About Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, changes behaviors and, eventually, the ability to carry out everyday tasks.
About Alzheimer’s New Jersey
Since 1985, Alzheimer’s New Jersey has provided care and support for New Jersey families and has helped advance research for a cure. As Alzheimer’s New Jersey (formerly known as Alzheimer’s Association, Greater New Jersey Chapter), their commitment to local programs and services is stronger than ever. Their mission is to respond to the needs of people in New Jersey who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, by providing programs and community partnerships that increase awareness and access to services.
Visit alznj.org or call 888-280-6055.
About the Survey
The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind telephone survey was conducted in September, 2017, with 700 New Jersey adults, and was funded by Alzheimer’s New Jersey. Utilizing best practices in survey methodology, PublicMind undertakes research nationally and throughout New Jersey.