HELPING THE FAMILY OR CAREGIVER

HELPING THE FAMILY OR OTHER CAREGIVER

The majority of patients diagnosed with dementia live at home and are cared for by a Family member. It follows logically that, if the patient is showing improvements, life for family members and other caregivers will also improve (Grossberg, 2008). If patients with mild memory loss can do their own shopping and pay their own bills, then no one has to spend time helping them with these chores. And, of course, if activities of daily living are improved, families and other caregivers will have more time for their own activities. One study found that treatment was associated with a saving of 68 minutes per day on average for caregivers (Sano et al., 2003).

SAVING MONEY

Current pharmacological treatments for memory loss cost money, between $1500 and $2000 per year for each medication. Are the beneficial effects for patients and caregivers worth the costs? Although certain aspects of this question cannot be readily answered, an easier question to answer is whether the dollars spent on medications to treat memory loss and to improve quality of life end up saving money. This issue has been studied and the results are clear: treatment of memory loss does save money (Getsios et al., 2001; Moore et al., 2001;Wimo et al., 2003a,b). When patients are treated for their memory loss, fewer medications to control behavior need be prescribed. There is less use of home health aids. Caregivers have more time to spend in the workplace bringing in revenue to the household. And placement in nursing homes can be delayed (Lyseng-Williamson & Plosker, 2002; Geldmacher et al., 2003).

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

Planning for the future is absolutely essential for any patient with progressive memory loss. Documents such as a power of attorney and healthcare proxy will need to be drawn up and signed. Banking, bill paying, and driving need to be addressed. The physical environment within the home will often need changes.

REFERENCES

Cummings, J.L., 2004. Alzheimer's disease. N. Engl. J Med. 351, 56-67. Geldmacher, D.S., Provenzano, G., McRae, T., et al., 2003. Donepezil is associated with delayed nursing home placement in patients with Alzheimer's disease. J. Am. Geriatr. Soc. 51, 937-944. Getsios, D., Caro, J.J., Caro, G., Ishak, K., 2001. Assessment of health economics in Alzheimer's disease (AHEAD): galantamine treatment in Canada. Neurology 57, 972-978. Grossberg, G.T., 2008. Impact of rivastigmine on caregiver burden associated with Alzheimer's disease in both informal care and nursing home settings. Drugs Aging 25, 573-584. Lyseng-Williamson, K.A., Plosker, G.L., 2002. Galantamine: a pharmacoeconomic review of its use in Alzheimer's disease. Pharmacoeconomics 20, 919—942. Moore, M.J., Zhu, C.W., Clipp, E.C., 2001. Informal costs of dementia care: estimates from the National Longitudinal Caregiver Study. J. Gerontol. B Psychol. Sci. Soc. Sci. 56, S219-S228. Sano, M., Wilcock, G.K., van Baelen, B., et al., 2003. The effects of galantamine treatment on caregiver time in Alzheimer's disease. Int. J. Geriatr. Psychiatry 18 942-950. Wimo, A., Winblad, B., Engedal, K., et al., 2003a. An economic evaluation of donepezil in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: results of a  1-year, double-blind, randomized trial. Dement. Geriatr. Cogn. Disord. 15, 44 54. Wimo, A., Winblad, B., Stoffler, A., et al., 2003b.

family

    Feeding Client

    Taking client for walk

    Medicine Reminders and supervision

    Drive client to appointment Meal Preparation

    Assist with daily exercise

    Laundry and light house keeping

    Keeping home environment safe and comfortable for client

    Daily house keeping

    Personal grooming assistance

    Take Seniors to Health Fair & SPA

    Show Them How to Take Advantage of New Technologies

    Arrange for Seniors to Obtain a Home Energy Audit or Energy Bill Assistance

    Ensure Frequent visit to Clients by Agency representative

    Drive Safety Education

    Teach Games and Organize Puzzle Exchanges

    We assist in Planting Window Box

    Introduce Seniors to Bookmobiles and Books on Tape

    Help Organize a Garage Sale