It’s generally assumed that senior citizens are much more mellow and compassionate than young adults. In a recent experiment at the University of Oregon, a study was done to determine the extent to which aging can increase altruism. The staff and students at this institution simply wanted to find out if people truly become more caring with age. The finding may be surprising for seniors, families and Chicago home caregivers.
Psychology professor Ulrich Mayr took a leading role in the experiment. He was assisted by one of his students who sought to get a doctorate certification. They agreed that from a scientific point of view, altruism could be measured to a certain extent with a complex apparatus such as an MRI scanner. The study relied heavily on the use of such imaging technology that can detect neural activity in a person’s brain. When humans feel certain emotions, specific parts of the brain are more active than others and light up in MRI scans. The experiment tried to pinpoint the area of the brain that is responsible for positive feelings that a person might feel in reaction to altruistic behavior.
The age range for the 80 people who participated in the study was between 18 and 67. In addition to being exposed to MRI scans, each person in the experiment also filled out an extensive questionnaire about various topics that defined personality and other social factors. The participants had to react to unique circumstances involving the transfer of money to different destinations. In some cases, the individuals were presented with hypothetical situations that directly benefited them instead of others. In other trials, the participants had to respond to situations in which money was donated to charities.
The study concluded that people over the age of 45 truly enjoyed the positive feelings that came with donating funds to charitable causes. On a small scale, this experiment solidified the belief that aging makes people more altruistic.
You, too, can feel altruistic when you hire a trusted Chicago senior home care agency to look after your senior loved one. Home Care Assistance provides flexible live-in and hourly service that accommodates your loved one’s busy schedule and tends to his or her individual needs. Whether your loved one needs help running errands, preparing meals, or doing household chores, our highly trained caregivers will help. Call (847) 906-3991 today to learn more about our services and schedule a free in-home consultation.
(San Francisco, CA—June 1, 2017) Today Home Care Assistance , the leading provider of in-home care for seniors, released a study they commissioned through Research Now illuminating the emotional impact of dementia caregiving in the United States. With one in four adults serving as a caregiver for an aging loved one and with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia surging among our rapidly aging population, the unrelenting stress and emotional toll of witnessing the “long goodbye” stands to pose a health care challenge of its own.
With roughly 5.5 million Americans living with dementia, the illness actually costs more to care for ($259 billion) than cancer ($77 billion) and heart disease ($102 billion) combined . Behind these numbers lies a hidden, but very real, emotional cost to family caregivers who help those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias manage daily living.
Based on an analysis of 670 family caregivers in the U.S. surveyed between May 8 and 11 of this year, the following results were concluded:
Dementia caregivers experience higher rates of physical, emotional and mental burnout. Often referred to as “caregiver burnout”, the survey found that dementia caregivers were seven times more likely to experience daily physical, emotional and mental exhaustion from caregiving than non-dementia caregivers. The survey also found that dementia caregivers were three times more likely to feel extreme stress from their caregiving responsibilities than other types of caregivers.
Dementia caregivers feel the most stress from watching their loved one decline, while other caregivers are most stressed from juggling work and care responsibilities. In contrast to other types of care that may have a focus on recovery and rehabilitation, caring for someone with dementia can oftentimes be more challenging since the person is facing a long, inevitable decline. Based on the survey results, 38 percent of those caring for a loved one with dementia feel the most stress from watching their loved one decline, while 33 percent of those caring for a loved one without dementia feel the most stress from having to juggle their job and caregiving responsibilities.
When looking at gender breakdowns of stress, the survey showed that male dementia caregivers were 21 percent more likely to feel stressed from having to juggle their job and caregiving responsibilities than female dementia caregivers.
When it comes to managing child and senior care, female dementia caregivers experience higher rates of caregiver guilt.Numerous studies have shown the disproportionate impact Alzheimer’s and other dementias have on women. Not only do women make up two-thirds of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s , but they also make up two-thirds of the dementia caregiver demographic. Furthermore, researchers at Stanford recently discovered that women are at higher risk “for lowering or exiting their career trajectory owing to caregiver demands.”
According to Home Care Assistance’s survey, female dementia caregivers were twice as likely to feel extreme guilt for not tending to their own family and children’s needs than male dementia caregivers. More so, there were some significant discrepancies seen between females that were caring for a loved one with dementia and females that were caring for a loved one with another disease. Female dementia caregivers were 61 percent more likely to feel extreme guilt for not tending to their own family and children’s needs than non-dementia female caregivers.
“We’re facing an impending health crisis not only for the tens of millions living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, but also for the loved ones that care for them,” said Lily Sarafan, CEO of Home Care Assistance. “Reliable data on the spectrum of family caregiver experiences, as well as solutions for caregivers to effectively manage their own health and wellness, are essential components of the broader care ecosystem. Our hope is that breathtaking scientific advances and lifespan gains are accompanied by thoughtful leadership and policies to address the realities of caregiving.”
In acknowledgement of the heightened stresses of dementia caregiving, Home Care Assistance will be awarding respite care grants to 60 family caregivers. The program was launched in conjunction with its partnership with Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and Move for Minds, and is open to caregivers across the country. To learn more or apply for a respite care grant, visit: http://homecareassistance.com/moveforminds .
To view the complete findings around the emotional cost of dementia caregiving, download the full report here: http://homecareassistance.com/emotional-costs-dementia-caregiving .
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Research Now on behalf of Home Care Assistance from May 8th-11th, 2017 among 670 family caregivers aged 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighted variables, contact Grace Zavolock at email@example.com .
About Home Care Assistance
Home Care Assistance is the leading provider of in-home care for seniors serving the United States, Canada and Australia. Its uniquely integrated, science-based approach to aging directly supports individual lifestyles and quality longevity, enabling seniors to live happier, healthier lives at home. Named an Inc. 5000 company eight years in a row and one of the 50 fastest growing women-owned companies worldwide in 2017, Home Care Assistance has been recognized as a 2017 Endorsed National Provider by the home care industry’s leading research firm, Home Care Pulse. Home Care Assistance CEO Lily Sarafan was also named Health Care Executives’ 2016 Woman of the Year. For more information about Home Care Assistance, visit www.homecareassistancecleveland.com .
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Great News!! The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) are celebrating the announcement that Congress will pass a $400 million increase for Alzheimer’s research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the FY2017 budget. Read the full article: http://www.alz.org/news_and_events_104864.asp?WT.mc_id=enews2017_05_05&utm_source=enews-aff-113&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=enews-2017-05-05
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I'm participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's® because I'm committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support, and research. It is scheduled for October 7, 2017 at the Great Lakes Science Center. More information is coming in the future. I'm leading the way to Alzheimer's first survivor — but I need your help!
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