Texas Alzheimer’s, dementia caregivers face challenges

The burden of Alzheimer’s and other dementias weighs heavily on Texas family caregivers and those across the country, according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2024 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report.

Last year, over 1 million Texas family members and friends provided 1.5 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $23.9 billion. Texas dementia caregivers also reported significant emotional, physical and health-related challenges as a result of caregiving, including:

  • 59% of Texas dementia caregivers reported at least one chronic condition.
  • 26.7% reported depression.
  • 11.2% reported frequent poor health.

“Caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is especially demanding,” said Valerie Sanchez, executive director, West Texas Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association. “As disease-related symptoms worsen, caregiving responsibilities intensify. Over time, caregivers can experience increased emotional and physical stress making it more difficult to care for their loved ones.”

According to the new report, 83% of the help provided to older adults in the United States comes from family members, friends or other unpaid caregivers. Nearly half of all caregivers (48%) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Nationwide, there are an estimated 11.5 million caregivers providing unpaid care for people living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Last year, these caregivers provided 18.4 billion hours of care valued at nearly $347 billion, a news release said.

“The cost of caregiving is one more stressor for families,” Sanchez said in the release. “The lifetime cost of caring for someone with dementia is estimated at nearly $400,000 with 70% of this cost borne by family caregivers. It’s a financial burden for which very few families are prepared.”

Understanding how Alzheimer’s and other dementia progress can help caregivers anticipate disease-related changes and provide opportunities to explore caregiving options and resources in their local communities. In the wake of an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, it is important for caregivers to think about care as a continuum. The average life expectancy following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is four-eight years, but some individuals can live with the disease longer, up to 20 years. Caregivers are encouraged to reassess care decisions and options regularly.

While caregiving for someone living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia can be stressful, the Alzheimer’s Association website has information about caregiving throughout the disease continuum, various care options and resources to help with financial and legal planning. The Alzheimer’s Association Community Resource Finder can help families find local residential care options by simply entering their zip code.

“The new report clearly shows that dementia caregivers need more support now and in the coming years,” said Sanchez. “The Alzheimer’s Association provides support for all caregivers through our 24/7 Helpline, local support groups, care consultations and additional local resources that can help relieve some of the burden they’re facing. Most importantly, caregivers need to know they are not alone and we are here to help.”

To learn more about the resources available for caregivers and families or to learn more about the 2024 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, visit alz.org.