Doctors and researchers increasingly recognize that caring for people with dementia compromises the physical and mental health of the caregivers. That, in turn, jeopardizes the well-being of the people they are caring for. Some studies have shown that the burden on caregivers may increase the likelihood that the loved ones in their charge will be placed in a nursing home. “People with Alzheimer’s who have stressed caregivers have been shown to have poor outcomes,” said Zaldy Tan, the medical director of the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program who created the boot camp. “Their caregivers have essentially thrown in the towel.” People with dementia are also more likely to go to the emergency room and be hospitalized if their caregivers aren’t prepared for the job, Tan said. That is one of the main reasons why UCLA Health and its geriatrics division started its caregiver boot camps in 2015.
UCLA holds four boot camps a year at community and senior centers around Southern California and hopes to expand over the next year to meet the growing need. About 5 million Americans, 1 in 10 people over 65, have Alzheimer’s disease — a number that could balloon to 16 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. You can read more about the caregiver boot camp at the below link.