If you or someone close to you is impacted by Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, you are not alone. There are more than 13,000 Vermonters aged 65 and older who have diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease—the most common cause of dementia—and another 30,000 Vermonters who care for them.
Impact on Caregivers & Families
Caring for someone with dementia is a meaningful and important role — but it is also highly demanding and has significant impacts. Caregivers of someone with dementia often feel isolated, stressed, exhausted and financially burdened.
Among caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias:
- Caregivers are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and lower quality of life than caregivers of people with other conditions.
- About one in four are known as “sandwich” caregivers, meaning they are both caring for an older adult and a child.
- More than half (57%) who are employed report having to take time off, go in late or leave early, and 16% had to go from full to part time.
- Eighty-three percent of the help provided to older adults in the United States comes from family members, friends, or other unpaid caregivers.
- In 2021, 37 million unpaid hours—an estimated worth of $758 million—were provided by family caregivers of people with dementia in Vermont.
Support for Caregivers
The course of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can be drastic, leaving caregivers emotionally and physically drained. As the disease progresses, caregiver responsibilities will increase and become more difficult.
By getting support early on you can:
- Set up a care plan for your loved one
- Make financial arrangements
- Prepare emotionally for the stages of cognitive decline
- Establish a support system and develop practical coping mechanisms
Self-care tips for avoiding caregiver burnout
- Move more. Find a physical activity you enjoy.
- Stay healthy. Try to eat healthy foods, drink water, get enough sleep and visit your doctor regularly. Telehealth visits may be an option. Check your local area Agency on Aging to see if a respite grant is available.
- Make time outside of caregiving to do the things you enjoy.
- Ask for help when you need it. Lean on community resources available to you.
TCARE Stress Assessment: Designed by professionals to track caregiver burnout and identify hidden stressors or pressures. Based on your assessment TCARE offers tailored resources and mitigation strategies to support you through your caregiver journey.
Vermont’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAA): Regional resource guides to help support caregivers and family members. Each AAA location has a Director of Caregiving and other resources to offer including Adult Day Programs.
Dementia Respite Grants: Managed by AAA, these efforts help family caregivers by reducing stress, maintaining their health, and continuing their caregiving roles. Grants may be used to pay for a range of services including in-home care, respite care, homemaker services, and Adult Day services.
Alzheimer’s Association, VT Chapter: The Alzheimer's Association® is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support, and research. It has resources and information that can help as well as a 24-hour HELPLINE.
VT 211: A program of United Ways of Vermont, Vermont 2-1-1 is a statewide, confidential information and referral helpline that connects callers to available human services including food, shelter and healthcare. Callers speak with a real person every time who can help problem-solve and/or refer callers to government programs, community-based organizations, support groups and many other local resources.