In-Home Dementia Care is a Very Personal Struggle
It can be difficult to estimate the value of an in-home dementia caregiver here in Texas because there’s not a lot of solid research in this field. However, it’s clear that the majority of this type of care given to those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease runs into the millions and rests on the shoulders of unpaid caregivers.
While a significant portion of dementia sufferers do use paid services (such as home health aides) for the majority of their needs, it’s often unpaid caregivers who do the heavy lifting.
Family members, friends, and community volunteers make up the basis of most of the support networks created to help aid dementia sufferers living at home. As important as this work is, it’s necessary for those caregivers to take care of themselves as well.
The Dollar Figure Associated with “Unpaid” Home Care
A brief presented to the Research Summit on Dementia Care in 2017 reported that unpaid caregivers provided an average of 21.9 hours of care to dementia patients per caregiver per week. That’s the equivalent of a part-time job for every family member, friend, or community volunteer.
The national average wage for a paid in-home dementia caregiver is $12.65 per hour. When you factor that in, unpaid caregivers are volunteering the equivalent of $277 per week. While many unpaid in-home dementia caregivers are family members and wouldn’t trade this “duty” for the world, it’s important to note the financial impact this personal care really does have on a family.
Hazards to an Unpaid In-Home Dementia Caregiver
In addition to the financial concerns associated with unpaid in-home care for dementia patients, there are a number of other concerns as well—specifically the danger to the health and well being of the caregiver themselves.
While family caregivers may want to dedicate their lives to their loved ones, there is a significant body of research that suggests an unpaid in-home dementia caregiver actually experiences a significant decrease in their own quality of life as the condition of the person they are caring for worsens. In fact, Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses states that, “Caregivers are hidden patients themselves, with serious adverse physical and mental health consequences from their physically and emotionally demanding work as caregivers and reduced attention to their own health and health care.”
Safe Solutions for Everyone
Whether you choose to be an in-home dementia caregiver out of obligation, the kindness of your own heart, or because of financial realities, it is important to note that your personal health and safety needs to be a priority as well.
And remember, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of your loved one as well as they need you too. So don’t be afraid to seek help. It’s not a sign of weakness or inability, it’s just a smart thing to do to help everyone live better lives during this trying time.
When you need help to provide the best care for your loved ones, when you need some time away for personal obligations, when you need a break, the caring professionals at Second Family Home Care in Texas can help.
Call us today at (972) 347-0700 to set up your free in-home consultation and learn how we can support you in caring for your loved ones in their very own homes.
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