The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP released a joint study in 2015 that found 43.5 million people in the United States were caregivers; of those, 33 million were caring for other adults, and 6.8 million were caring for both children and adults. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.7 million people face Alzheimer’s disease, and 16.1 million people provide unpaid care for them, which is valued at more than $232 billion per year. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 70 percent of all adults in the United States over the age of 65 will need hands-on care in their lifetimes, and the World Health Organization predicts that the number of people needing daily hands-on care will triple by 2050.
While twenty years of our professional lives have been devoted to being,in many forms, caregiver’s to elders facing dementia,this is not a clinical study of memory loss or a resource guide to dementia—or Down syndrome. Nor is it a palliative care or hospice care manual. Instead, our hope is that by sharing information and stories, this book will encourage all of us to celebrate hope for the people we love and examine questions and dreams for making the future better for elders, families, and caregivers of all kinds.