The backbone of the dementia care system is the relationship between a person with dementia and an unpaid family caregiver (often a daughter or aged spouse). The family caregivers often hold jobs and typically have a family of their own (frequently with young children). Weekends and evenings and vacations get “eaten up” by caregiving demands as do financial resources and interpersonal relationships with the caregiver’s friends, coworkers, and relationship partners.
At its best, the person with dementia and family caregiver partnership provides excellent care. At its worse (with the exception of a small percentage of cases of abuse or neglect possible in any care relationship), this is the best care system available to most of the population of elders and others with dementia and itself is a high-quality care system.
But the toll on the unpaid caregiver is huge.
In order to make keep this system viable, high-quality, accessible, and fair to all participants (especially unpaid caregivers), stipends and free training needs to be made available to family members. Whether such stipends come from general tax funds or the health insurances pool, if they are not made available, the system will collapse and the alternative will be lower-quality and much more expensive.
Wanna pay more and get less … destroy the system of family caregivers and PWDs by refusing to reimburse currently unpaid caregivers for their services and time and replace it with centralized facilities resulting in poorer care for elders at a higher cost. Paying family caregivers for their work with persons with dementia is not only the right thing to do, it is the cost-effective thing to do.
A mind model (AKA mind map) follows. Click on the image to expand it.
A related posting on caregiving may be accessed by clicking here.