There's an informal but vital network of health care providers, toiling away in neighborhoods and towns everywhere. They may not be doctors or nurses, or CNAs, or techs, but they care for elderly parents and spouses with dementia, children with disabilities, and relatives with injuries. They're family caregivers, and sometimes they need a break.
Here's some help, or at least some promising news, for them.
I spoke with Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts this afternoon about her work on the state Alzheimers plan, what she calls a "living document" meant to guide and coordinate Rhode Island's efforts to care for those with Alzheimers and those who care for them.
Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts toured the state with an all-volunteer work group for a number of listening sessions to get a better sense of what’s available to those suffering from dementia and their caregivers.
They also wanted to hear about what more can be done to help residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
State officials want to make it easier for people living with Alzheimer’s and those who care for them. Nearly 25,000 Rhode Islanders suffer from the disease, and an estimated 60,000 are their unpaid caregivers.
A work group spearheaded by Lt Gov Elizabeth Roberts and Division of Elderly Affairs chief Catherine Taylor has issued a set of recommendations in the state’s first comprehensive Alzheimer’s plan.
News from the New England Journal of Medicine today finds that the cost of caring for people with dementia (including Alzheimer's) will more than double in the next couple of decades. That's because the nation's population is aging, and because the care can be expensive. Most of the estimated $215 billion dollars these diseases cost the economy can be chalked up to long term care.