Submitted by: RoseMary Jaramillo
Regional Director Colorado Springs Alzheimer’s Association
November is a time to publicly honor the millions of Americans who perform a very private and selfless act: caring for the nearly 6 million people in the U.S. living with Alzheimer’s disease.
More than 16 million people are currently serving as volunteer, unpaid caregivers for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease. And November is a special month to honor this dedicated group of people. Originally designated as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, it later was expanded by President Bill Clinton to honor our nation’s caregivers: National Family Caregivers Month.
“Many of these people don’t consider themselves to be caregivers,” said Amelia Schafer, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. “That’s my mom…that’s my husband…
Caregivers act out of love and loyalty for this special person and give without expecting anything in return. The act of giving is its own reward.”
The enormous impact of caregiving
- While caregiving is an individual act, often given by the hour or the day, the collective impact is enormous.
- Nearly 22 hours per week: In 2019, volunteer caregivers in the U.S. provided an estimated 21.9 hours per week each of unpaid care for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s.
- More than $11,000 per year: Volunteer caregivers give more than their time. On average, in 2019 dementia caregivers reported spending $11,372 each for medical, personal care and household expenses for the person with dementia.
Caring for caregivers
A key source of support to Alzheimer’s caregivers is other caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association offers support groups across Colorado to help these individuals get advice, counsel and a friendly ear from people like themselves who are living the challenge of caregiving.
For more information about monthly support groups, call the Alzheimer’s Association free 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 or go to www.alz.org/crf, click on Alzheimer’s Association Programs and Events, and then on Support Groups.