New report reveals current state of caregiving for Alzheimer's disease

Nearly two-thirds of caregivers whose loved ones suffer from the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's or related dementia say they would take medication to delay the onset of their own memory loss by even six months, if it were affordable and free of side effects. Sixty-four percent say they've already made healthy lifestyle modifications in an effort to prevent their own memory loss, making meaningful edits to their diet and exercise. However, only one-third of caregivers say they have been tested for the Alzheimer's gene. These, and other, findings were revealed in a new report from Healthline Media, the fastest growing health information brand, reaching 39 million monthly users in the United States.

The report, "State of Caregiving for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia 2018," examines the current caregiving population, the challenges they face in caring for a loved one with the disease today and how advances in science and technology may affect caregiving roles in the future. The report included a survey of nearly 400 active caregivers across generations and in-depth interviews with medical experts and advocacy groups. The full report can be accessed at www.healthline.com/health/state-of-alzheimers.

"Alzheimer's disease is on the rise, and the landscape is evolving - the types of clinical trials, treatments, resources/support, and the accelerated need for more family caregivers to take on the intensive responsibility of care for loved ones," said Diane Ty, Project Director of the Global Social Enterprise Initiative and AgingWell Hub at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. "Healthline's report helps prepare the modern patient and caregiver for the new state of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias."

According to Healthline's report, the intimate view of a loved one aging with Alzheimer's or related dementia is prompting more caregivers (34 percent) to be genetically tested for the disease, something millennials (49 percent) are more proactive about than older generations (Gen Xers 36 percent, Boomers 17 percent.)

Most caregivers report that a specific incident prompted a medical evaluation for their loved one (70 percent.) In almost half of all cases the incident was the last in a series, though more than one quarter of the cases were the first of its kind. Interestingly, millennial caregivers were more likely to report a first-time incident led to a medical evaluation (41 percent) compared to other caregiver groups (Boomers 21 percent; Gen Xers 18 percent.)

Key Findings:

  • PATIENT
    • 67 percent take up to one year to receive a specific diagnosis
    • 41 percent had MCI (mild cognitive impairment) before an Alzheimer's or related dementia diagnosis
    • 75 percent of Alzheimer's or related dementia patients remain home or in a private residence despite the disease's progression
  • CAREGIVER
    • 71 percent of caregivers are female
    • 72 percent of caregivers say their health has worsened since becoming caregivers
    • 1 of 2 caregivers have had their career and/or finances impacted due to caregiving responsibilities
  • CAREGIVER RESOURCES
    • 42 percent of caregivers use in-person support groups, online communities/forums
    • 55 percent of caregivers say they are not getting adequate emotional support

"We know our readers - both patients and their caregivers - have individual health journeys and we always strive to understand their specific paths, and how our content can best support them," said Tracy Stickler, Editor in Chief, Healthline. "The latest "State of…" report helps deepen our understanding of the evolving needs of the caregiver so we can create content and programs to better support them in making critical decisions.

Healthline's "State Of…" series examines consumer lifestyle data gathered by the website's research team. "State of…" research results are paired with editorial content illustrating topics from the consumer's perspective, highlighting credible, expert-informed insights to inform health decisions. The "State of…" series kicked off in July 2017 with the "State of Fertility," followed by the "State of Care" and "State of Cancer." "State of Caregiving for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia 2018" adds to the growing body of research in key disease states affecting Healthline's readers - the modern healthcare consumer and their caregivers. Additional studies in this series will continue in 2018, examining other key disease states affecting Healthline's readers.

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