Caregivers of a certain age may remember the late comedienne Lucille Ball’s "Vitameatavegamin"
sketch. The famous, very funny redhead asks: “Are you tired, rundown, listless? Do you poop out at parties?”
For most caregivers, the answer is a resounding “yes,” perhaps especially for those who care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s
disease. In the late stages of the cognitive disorder patients are stripped of the ability to complete the most basic tasks, which then fall to the caregiver.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic potion to quell the effects of long hours and multiple tasks that are both physically and emotionally draining.
The daily grind associated with caregiving can be overwhelming to even the sturdiest of individuals. However, there’s a phenomenon that further exacerbates the situation. People are living longer, which is a good thing of course, but it is also a factor in caregiver fatigue.
According to the Institute on Aging
, the fastest growing age group of elders in the United States is 85 years or older. Imagine that by the year 2050, this senior age group will account for 5 percent of the U.S. population and 24 percent of the older adult population. As the age of the population rises, so does the need for long-term care. But caregivers are also aging.
In the United States, there are more than 50 million people who are 65 years of age or older. Caregivers fall within this age category. The average caregiver of someone 65 or older, according to the