March 12, 2013

Alzheimer’s Caregiving Impacts the Work Force

In most businesses in America, the odds are that some of the employees are or have been caretakers for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. This responsibility can impact their work and emotional well-being.

A new poll reveals that 15% of American workers are current or former caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, a number that can have wide-reaching effects on work force retention and productivity.

The new poll showed that only 47% of these caregivers were able to maintain their employment while caregiving for Alzheimer’s patients. This figure shows that the impact of Alzheimer’s and dementia on the American work force “simply astounding.”

Caring for a loved one with dementia is an incredible responsibility, and that responsibility obviously has serious consequences on an individual's ability to maintain employment and perform as a professional.

One in eight Americans age 65 and older has Alzheimer's disease, while millions more have another form of dementia. The prevalence of dementia is expanding rapidly as the U.S. population ages. By 2025, the number of people living with Alzheimer's will rise to an estimated 6.7 million – a 30% increase from 2012. Additionally, 15 million people in the U.S. currently provide unpaid care for someone with dementia.

Caregiving responsibilities significantly affect an individual's ability to perform job responsibilities. Among those who work, or worked, while also providing care:
  • 69% had to modify their schedules.
  • 32% had to take a leave of absence.
  • 26% changed jobs for a less-demanding role.
  • 20% saw their work performance suffer to the point of possible dismissal.
  • 69% said that caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia strained their family finances.
  • 90% characterized their caregiving as emotionally stressful.
This data is a big red flag for business owners. These diseases impact the productivity of one out of every seven American workers right now. That ratio will only increase. Getting support programs in place to help these people cope with the emotional and physical tolls of providing care are decisions that will directly affect the bottom line - and the impact will be greater tomorrow than it is today.

If you need assistance caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, contact Spring Arbor.