Insights speaker series touches on family dynamics, dementia, and caregiving in an aging US population

October 9, 2023

Contact: Jon Meerdink ([email protected])

ANN ARBOR — The Institute for Social Research’s Insights speaker series resumed with an exploration on the dynamics of families, caregiving, and dementia on Thursday, September 28.

Sarah E. Patterson, a research investigator and postdoctoral affiliate with appointments in ISR’s Survey Research Center and Population Studies Center, addressed the complicated picture of family care for dementia in an increasingly older U.S. population. As of the 2020 census, about one in six people in America, putting a larger and larger burden on the country’s entire caregiving infrastructure, especially as more people need assistance in their day-to-day life.

“An aging population is associated with an increasing population in need of care,” said Patterson. “This is just a natural part of aging, and estimates shows that nearly half of older adults had either difficulty or received help in the last month with their daily activities.”

However, the immediate family of an aging adult often shoulders the main burden of their care, which presents other challenges when dealing with a diagnosis as complicated as dementia. Support from family members can be a key part of navigating dementia and the care it requires.

“Family composition is associated with older adults’ health, including their cognition, their mortality, and their general health patterns. It’s important to think about how family care may be playing into this process.”

Patterson also offered some resources to family members dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia, a summary of which is available here.

The full video of Patterson’s Insights talk is below. For more information on ISR’s Insights speaker series, click here.

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