Working mothers already have a lot on their daily agenda, and recent studies have found more of them have begun caring for an Alzheimer's patient.
According to the study "Women and Alzheimer's Disease: The Caregiver's Crisis," more than half of the caregivers surveyed have adjusted their work schedules to accommodate their patient and 39 percent have passed up a promotion. Six percent of respondents were even forced to resign.
"We cannot think of Alzheimer's as a disease on one person," said Heather Snyder, senior associate director of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer's Association. "Every area of a caregiver's life is affected: her job, her relationships, her children and even her own health."
The study also found that the considerable amount of care provided per week can be a large burden on a working mother. In the first year of the disease, caregiver provide an average of 34.8 hours of care a week, while 46.5 hours are provided per week from one to three years. Beyond that, the average hits 51.5 per week.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are many options available to lessen the effects caring has on working mothers.
Respite care can offer help to working mothers
If caring for an Alzheimer's patient ever becomes overbearing or work is getting in the way, respite care is a good service to take advantage of. There are a number of options available, including in-home care services, adult day centers and residential facilities.
In-home care services allow the patient to keep their familiar surroundings of home with the expert care of a professional. The care provider will come to the house and provide personal care and home health aid for the patient.
An adult day center is another great option because it gives the patient the opportunity to be around other Alzheimer's patients who are dealing with the same problems. The staff of these centers provide a schedule of planned activities, meals and programs.
If extended respite care is ever needed, the best option is a residential facility that offers overnight care, although this service is often not covered by insurance or Medicare.
Respite care is not for everyone, though, so another option that could be considered is to ask a trusted family member to help out when needed.