Mar 31, 2016 11:37 AM EDT

Caregivers Lead A Difficult Life: Caring for Dementia Patients

Keith Fargo, the director of Scientific Programs and Outreach of the Alzheimer's Association says, "This was a big shocker for us."

Fargo recently found out through a survey that families who are supporting people with dementia are dipping into their retirement savings, cutting back on spending and even selling assets to pay for caregiving expenses. GlobalNews reports that Fargo did not expect to find out that one in five families go hungry because they do not have enough resources to support an ill family member.

The survey showed that people are not prepared for the high costs of home care or nursing home care when it comes to long-term effects and planning.

The reported median cost of a home caregiver is $20 per hour while the average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is around $80,000 annually. In the United States alone, Boston Herald reports that there are 5.4 million people ill with dementia, leading to Alzheimer's. As the disease progresses, these patients need help with eating, hygiene and other physical activities.

"There is no silver bullet in planning for (Alzheimer's); the costs are too staggering," says Beth Kallmyer, Alzheimer's Association vice president of constituent services.

So why are these families suffering financially? For one, the cost of taking care of a family member on their own (as the spouse, child, relative or friend) can drain resources. The patient requires medication, food, monitoring, diapers and even physical therapy. Most, if not all of them, do not have the means and resources to care for these patients, which is why they have chosen to hire an aide who is trained to do the job. Caregiver aides and nurses also face the same stress when managing the patient which is often why their salaries are reportedly costly. It's part of the occupation. While the profession of a nurse aide or a caregiver can be stressful, oftentimes it is also a rewarding job. They take on the role of the carer in order to provide the families peace of mind.

Are you a caregiver? Check out this JobsNHire article and find out how you can cope with the stress.

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