As the primary caregiver for my father during the last eight years of his life, I know only too well the personal challenges and rewards caregivers and their families experience. But when we realize that in 2009, 62 million family caregivers provided over $450 billion in care, we see that the personal challenges of caregiving also have significant public policy implications.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia can be a sad, lonely and often frustrating struggle. It could be Mom or Dad, or a grandparent or beloved uncle, who begins to lose his or her grip on the world. They may speak and act strangely, forget familiar names and people, wander or get lost, regress to their childhood, or withdraw fully into themselves.