National Poll Reveals New Look at the Impact of Dementia on U.S. Workforce
1 in 7 American workers is, or has been, a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia
Raleigh, NC – February 13, 2013 – One in eight Americans age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease. Millions more have another form of dementia. These diseases alter the lives of everyone they touch – and according to the results of a new national poll, they take an astonishing toll on the productivity of the American workforce, too.
The new poll, commissioned by Workplace Options in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association, shows that more than one in seven American workers (15 percent) are active or former caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Among those, fewer than half (47 percent) were able to maintain employment while providing care.
“The impact of Alzheimer’s and dementia on the U.S. workforce is simply astounding,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options, a global employee effectiveness company and the world’s leading work-life services provider. “Caring for a loved one with dementia is an incredible responsibility, and that responsibility obviously has serious consequences on an individual’s ability to maintain employment and perform as a professional.”
Building on the findings of The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s released in 2010, this poll shows that, in general, caregiving responsibilities significantly affect an individual’s ability to perform job responsibilities. Among those who work, or worked, while also providing care:
- 69 percent had to modify their schedules (arriving late, leaving early, taking time off during the day).
- 32 percent had to take a leave of absence.
- 26 percent changed jobs for a less-demanding role.
- 20 percent saw their work performance suffer to the point of possible dismissal.
“For people living with the disease and their caregivers, Alzheimer’s progressive cognitive decline gradually impacts all areas of life, including professional success,” said Angela Geiger, Chief Strategy Officer of the Alzheimer’s Association. “It is clear from these numbers that balancing a career and serving as a caregiver is extremely difficult and that more employees and employers are going to be faced with this challenge in the near future.”
Expanding Impact of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
According to the 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report from the Alzheimer’s Association, the prevalence of dementia is expanding rapidly as the U.S. population ages.
- More than 5 million seniors (age 65 and older) have Alzheimer’s disease.
- By 2025, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s will rise to an estimated 6.7 million – a 30 percent increase from 2012.
- 15 million people in the U.S. currently provide unpaid care for someone with dementia.
“As Americans continue living longer and the prevalence of Alzheimer’s continues to increase, the number of unpaid caregivers in the workforce will also continue to increase,” Geiger said. “It’s a natural correlation and something that the nation and businesses need to seriously consider.”
Emotional and Financial Complications
The national poll also provided updated information regarding the strain that caregiving puts on individuals and families from an emotional and financial perspective.
According to the poll:
- 69 percent of caregivers said that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia strained their family finances.
- 90 percent characterized their caregiving as emotionally stressful.
“This data is a big red flag for business owners,” Debnam said. “These diseases impact the productivity of one out of every seven American workers right now. That’s a ratio that will only increase. Getting support programs in place to help these people cope with the emotional and physical tolls of providing care are decisions that will directly affect the bottom line – and the impact will be greater tomorrow than it is today.”
The national survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling on Dec. 13-15, 2012. The survey, which polled 530 Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers, has a margin of error of +/- 4.3%.
About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s disease care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit www.alz.org.
To learn more about the employee solutions provided by Workplace Options, please visit www.workplaceoptions.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at @workplaceoption and visit Workplace Options’ YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/yourworkplaceoptions.
About Workplace Options
Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal life in order to make their lives healthier, easier and more productive. The company’s world-class employee support and work-life services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care, legal and financial issues to stress management and wellness.
Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support services and work-life provider. Service centers in Raleigh. N.C., London, Toronto and Dublin support more than 40 million employees in 30,000 organizations, across 170 countries. To learn more, visit www.workplaceoptions.com.
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