Alzheimer’s placing an increasing burden on caregivers
SARASOTA- Alzheimer’s deaths have more than doubled in the last 15 years, and those rates continue to increase.
As the population ages and lives longer, more people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“We still haven’t come up with a good treatment yet,” Dr. Andrew Keegan said. “That’s one of the challenging aspects, so people may be living with good care, but still are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and eventually dying from that disease in some cases.”
Roskamp Institute’s Clinical Medical Director Dr. Andrew Keegan says research is ongoing for both prevention and treatment.
“It’s been more than 15 years since really a new medication has been approved for Alzheimer’s dementia,” Dr. Keegan said. “There have been hundreds of studies, clinical trials that we’ve even participated in a number of them that unfortunately have failed.”
While patients wait for new treatments, the burden on caregivers is growing. Shree Lele says it’s a full time job.
“Mornings are usually pretty good,” “Afternoons are usually a problem, afternoons say from about 3:00 until about 6-6:30 is very stressful.”
In Florida more than 1.1 million caregivers provided over 1.2 billion hours of unpaid care. Lele has help with his wife a few days a week, and says it’s important to take time to care for himself.
“Time to do some things without feeling any guilt,” Lele said. “However once the hours are finished and I go back, it’s back to square one.”
Dr. Donald Snyder says caregivers often have health issues because they are less likely to care for themselves.
“These illnesses can be longstanding and the caregivers themselves need care,” Dr. Snyder said. “So we provide that, we have a support group for the caregivers, it’s extremely challenging, it’s emotionally difficult.”
Shree Lele says he’s learned to find time to relax.
“Whenever my wife is sitting I go to the kitchen and cook which is a very relaxing time for me,” Lele said. “I solve some crossword puzzles, that’s a very relaxing time for me.”
Doctors recommend getting screened for Alzheimer’s early to help be better prepared.
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