VIDEO: Caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients face greater health toll

March 5

Erna Colborn is president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Illinois Chapter. She discusses, at Washington Post Live's 2013 Caregiving in America forum, the time intensity involved in taking care of someone with Alzheimer's. (The Washington Post)
Erna Colborn at Washington Post Live’s Caregiving in America forum in Chicago. (Photo by Ashlee Rezin/The Washington Post)

A third of Alzheimer’s caregivers report that they’ve been caregiving for more than five years, and 70 percent have been doing it for more than a year. So that’s a really long period of time. The second thing that’s really different about Alzheimer’s caregiving is that the nature of the caregiving is much more personal. Individuals with Alzheimer’s need a lot of help with those personal-care items — bathing and dressing and eating and toileting — and that leaves a lot of caregivers uncomfortable. It’s nursing skills that they’re probably not really trained for.

“We know that the health of the caregiver is impacted to a greater degree when they’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.”

-Erna Colborn, president, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Illinois Chapter

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