People with Alzheimer's disease often depend on others for their daily care and rely heavily on medical care and long-term services and supports (LTSS).

Over 40 percent of nursing home residents have a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. As a result, Alzheimer's disease has an enormous impact on both affected individuals, their caregivers, and medical providers and facilities that offer specialized services for persons with Alzheimer's.

The Mental Toll and Financial Cost of Care

For some time now, it is not unusual for children to move to the other side of the country to attend college and then after graduation stay in their new "home" or take a job in a region of the country different from where their parents are living, both of which can result in long-distance caregiving, with "long-distance" defined as two or more driving hours away.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, nearly 15 percent of caregivers for persons with Alzheimer's disease are long-distance caregivers. Out-of-pocket costs for long-distance caregivers are twice that of caregivers who live in close proximity to their loved ones, exacerbating the responsibilities that comes with being a caregiver for someone who has Alzheimer's disease.

Six out of ten people with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia will wander, either on foot, by car, or by another form of transportation. If you or someone you know is a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia we encourage you to prepare now for this unfortunate eventuality. Complete (or encourage caregivers to complete) the forms in an Alzheimer’s Aware Adult ID Kit and have it .on hand to provide to law enforcement, should the person you are caring for wanders or becomes lost.

Those who are caregivers of persons with a history of wandering should seriously consider registering the person with the MedicAlert program, alerting their local law enforcement agency, or consider the use of an electronic tracking device. Such registries and the tracking devices are not an invasion of the person’s privacy, as they are not used until such time as the caregiver reports the person missing or the person is found wandering and needs to be reunited with family or a caregiver.