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New report from the Alzheimer's Association highlights struggles caregivers face

Report spotlights the stress and burden on the caregivers of Alzheimer’s Patients
Report spotlights the stress and burden on the caregivers of Alzheimer’s Patients 02:24

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Nearly 7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease. That's an increase of about 200,000 cases of the mind-robbing disease from last year.

The new report highlights the significant burden caregivers face. It says taking care of someone with Alzheimer's amounts to a full-time job, filled with frustrations, heartache and stress.

Steve Marcus, 73, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2020. His wife of 50 years, Ruth, is now his caregiver or as she says "care-partner."

"A caregiver sounds like it's all about me and he's in on this as much as I am," Ruth Marcus said.

Steve Marcus is still in the early stages of the disease, but it has progressed and puts stress on Ruth. From having to figure out finances to managing care.

"Getting appointments can be daunting and frustrating and upsetting," Ruth Marcus said. "I feel like I'm alone in all of this."

The latest report from the Alzheimer's Association finds caregivers are facing increasing stress.

The top five stressors are cost, coordinating with multiple doctors, securing appointments, getting help taking a break and finding appropriate doctors.


"Where to start, how to find the right doctor... understanding the disease, but how can I make my way through this very complex system," Sam Fazio, of the Alzheimer's Association, said.

The report also found caregivers are not finding enough support to navigate resources that may be available.

"You don't have to face this disease alone. The Alzheimer's Association has a 24/7 helpline that could answer your questions, and connect you to resources," Fazio said.

"Support is so important," Ruth Marcus said.

 Ruth Marcus also connected with others who are caring for their loved ones battling the disease.

"Don't wait. Get your family involved, get your friends involved," Ruth Marcus said.

The couple is planning to go on a cruise this summer, which is another important step -- trying to keep some sense of normalcy in the face of change. 

One piece of positive news in the report, dementia rates have declined over the last 25 years as more adults are achieving higher levels of education, staying active and exercising, avoiding cigarettes and staying socially engaged.

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