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There is an estimated 5.7 million Americans who care for an aging relative and also have children under 21 who still live at home; they are termed ‘sandwich caregivers’. As baby-boomers age there will be a marked increase of sandwich caregivers. A recent survey of sandwich givers concludes:

  • 70% of sandwich caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients said they need more help.
  • Only 33% of sandwich caregivers said they need more help with their children.
  • 63% of sandwich caregivers would like more information to be available to help children understand and cope with a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 77% of sandwich caregivers were not aware combination drug therapy can be used to treat Alzheimer’s patient’s symptoms of cognitive ability decline, loss of function, and difficult behavior.
  • Alzheimer’s patients received a delayed diagnosis of their condition–typically 2 years–because caregivers were not familiar with symptoms.
  • Approximately half of caregivers believed the Alzheimer’s symptoms were normal signs of aging.

The survey showed that children 8-21, who were involved with care-giving, reported:

  • Approximately one-third assisted with doctors’ appointments.
  • 42% of young adults assist with transporting loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 25% of young adults (13-17) assist with activities of daily living–feeding and dressing.
  • 90% of pre-teens (8-12) visit and entertain a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (small sample size).
  • 85% of teens visit a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

Care-giving of Alzheimer’s patients is a multi-generational concern. Lives of young adults, teens, and pre-teens are impacted when involved with care-giving of an aging relative and/or loved one.

The study was performed by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA).