Caregivers of Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease Benefit from Case Managers

case manager support for caregiversToday, millions of Americans and their loved ones are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. As more people reach retirement age, the death rate of Alzheimer’s has increased significantly and more individuals affected by the disease are passing away in their homes. At home, seniors with Alzheimer’s disease are dependent on caregivers, who are often family members and loved ones. Research suggests that caregivers would benefit from education and additional support from a case manager.

Over the course of 15 years, the number of people dying of Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. has increased by 55 percent, according to new data from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC report revealed that the number of Alzheimer’s patients that died in long-term care or nursing homes has decreased from 67.5 percent in 1999 to 54.1 in 2014. The number of Alzheimer’s patients that died at home during that time period increased from 13.9 percent to 24.9 percent. In many cases, the burden of care has fallen to family members and loved ones. With more Alzheimer’s patients remaining in their home, there is a greater need for additional in-home healthcare support to lessen the burden on caregivers and improve the quality of care for those living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Caregiving responsibilities for individuals with Alzheimer’s can last between 10 and 15 years. During that time caregivers can experience both physical and mental problems, including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Researchers have discovered that caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease have a 63 percent higher mortality rate than non-caregivers. According to the University of Stanford, as many as 40 percent of Alzheimer’s caregivers pass away from stress-related disorders before the person in their care does.

According to the Case Management Society of America, case management is a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, care coordination, evaluation, and advocacy for services that meet the comprehensive health needs of patients and their loved ones through communication and utilization of resources to promote quality, cost-effective outcomes. Case management improves the client’s wellbeing, eases the burden of care off of loved ones, and helps patients remain in their home. According to Dr. Christopher Taylor, lead author of the CDC study, caregivers and patients benefit from educational programs that provide information about Alzheimer’s disease, how to take care of themselves and their loved ones, and case management to support caregiving responsibilities. Also, case management can improve the quality of care the individual receives.

Alzheimer’s disease can have devastating physical and mental effects on both patients and caregivers. Those that wish to remain in their homes should consider securing additional services to support the patient’s well-being and reduce burden on caregivers. At P&P Medicaid Consulting, Inc. our geriatric care managers provide education about long-term care options, conduct comprehensive patient assessments, assist in the referral, selection, and application for in-home services, coordinate and supervise in-home caregivers, among other services. For more information about our Long Island geriatric care management services or to schedule a consultation, call (516) 541-4770.

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