As medical care becomes more complex and people live longer, the share of the population over 60 continues to grow, and the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias increases, many groups in society feel the effects and pressures. For the healthcare industry there are pressures both financial- and personnel-related. The number of providers with geriatric specialty training is not keeping pace with the growing need for that expertise. Some areas of the country and the world suffer real shortages of medical and community resources.
No doubt for healthcare providers it can be daunting to take on yet more responsibility but, in the long term, improving support to caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (and to all family caregivers) stands to save everyone—individuals, communities, state and federal governments—time and money by reducing the need for emergency visits, hospital readmissions, and related services, and improving the quality of life for care recipients, caregivers, and all those who support them.