Summary: Insights on the challenges facing caregivers, as well as highlighted programs and resources available from Blue Cross Blue Shield Companies
The role of family caregiver presents an array of challenges from physical, emotional and financial. While there are rewarding aspects of caring for a loved one, those positive aspects can diminish over a period of time impacting the health of caregivers as well as those receiving the care especially in the cases of early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It leaves many caregivers actively looking for help and support.
Caregiving by the numbers
There are approximately 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. Here’s a breakdown of the impact on caregivers according to the National Institutes of Health, in 2015,
- 16 million family and friends serve as caregivers
- 18 billion unpaid hours spent caring for persons with Alzheimer’s disease
- $221 billion – estimated annual cost of caregiving
Health of America Report
This awareness of the health of caregivers follows the release of the 29th study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series: “Early-Onset Dementia and Alzheimer's Rates Grow for Younger Americans.” The study examines the sharp increase of early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses among commercially insured Americans in their 30s to mid-60s. The findings suggest an increase in the number of caregivers could follow in the coming years. To that end, many Blue Cross Blue Shield companies are actively engaging with their members to offer valuable resources and support for caregivers in their role. Here are just a few examples:
Asking for help
Exhaustion is a common complaint among caregivers. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts provides members with access to A Healthy Me web page. Here they will find a resource page for caregivers including this article about the need to take time and care for themselves.
The stress of caregiving
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan provides its members with access to a number of resources for caregivers on mibluesperspectives.com which includes a podcast with tips on identifying and understanding the course of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The gift of caregiving
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota produced a video series for its caregiving resource page. The site includes support, links to services and inspirational stories from caregivers who have faced challenges caring for loved ones. The stories offer a view into everyday experiences and foster understanding for caregiving.
10 ways to love your brain
In addition to informing caregivers about the signs of Alzheimer’s, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has a collection of resources to inform people on 10 ways to love your brain. Tips include social engagement, balanced and healthy eating plus staying in tune with your mental health.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield are licensees of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.