Our primary focus at the Dementia Alliance of North Carolina is to improve the lives of caregivers who, more often than not, had no other alternative when stepping into their role as caregiver and had no prior experience. Caregiving for individuals with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is a rapidly growing sector of our older population. In North Carolina alone, an estimated 460,000 dementia caregivers are providing more than 600MM hours of unpaid care each year. This number is astounding and our dementia caregivers need support.
What’s more, these caregivers have an estimated $375MM in higher health care costs due to the stresses of caregiving for individuals with dementia. Compared with caregivers of people without dementia, twice as many dementia caregivers indicate substantial financial, emotional, and physical difficulties and are more likely than non-caregivers to have declining physical health including high levels of stress hormones, reduced immune function, slow wound healing, increased incidence of hypertension and coronary heart disease.
The physical and emotional impact of dementia caregiving is estimated to have resulted in more than $10.2B in health care costs in the U.S.