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With Alzheimer's, It Takes a Family
Date:3/27/2008

Survey finds children and their children are often involved in caring for loved one

THURSDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Alzheimer's care in the United States is a family affair, a new survey suggests.

Three in five so-called "sandwich" caregivers who look after a relative or friend with Alzheimer's disease said their children help with care duties, ranging from attending doctors' appointments to feeding and dressing their loved ones, according to the third annual Alzheimer's Foundation of America Investigating Caregivers' Attitudes and Needs Survey.

Sandwich caregivers are parents or guardians of children under age 21 who also care for an aging parent, relative or friend with Alzheimer's.

The survey of 559 sandwich caregivers found that among those who feel they do a good job balancing their care of a loved one with Alzheimer's and looking after their children, 36 percent said support from their children is a factor in their success.

Among children aged 8 to 21 who are involved in caregiving:

  • about one-third of young adults (aged 18-21) help with doctors' appointments;
  • 42 percent of young adults assist with transporting loved ones with Alzheimer's disease;
  • about one-quarter of young adults and teens (aged 13-17) help with the activities of daily living, such as feeding and dressing;
  • nearly 90 percent of pre-teens (aged 8 to 12) visit and entertain a loved one with Alzheimer's disease;
  • about 85 percent of teens visit loved ones with the disease.

"Taking care of someone with Alzheimer's disease can be an enormous drain on the caregiver and on family resources. For sandwich caregivers, the problem is even more acute. It is clear that caregiving is a multigenerational concern. Young adults, and even teens and pre-teens, are being impacted in life-changing ways by their caregiving responsibilities," Eric J. Ha
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