When actor Seth Rogen started dating his wife 15 years ago, they faced an unusual challenge that most new couples didn't face: caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's disease.
The two were in their early twenties when they became a couple. It was precisely around the time that Lauren Miller Rogen, a film writer and director, discovered that her mother was showing the first symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
Rogen is known for his comedy, as in the films "Knocked Up" and "Neighbors," but he has taken on a serious role as a supporter and fundraiser for this cognitive disease. "Another thing that I didn't realize until I was personally affected was the shame and stigma associated with this illness," he said in a 2014 Senate hearing. "It was before I was born, but I was tells of a time when cancer had a stigma that people were ashamed of. "
Care is evolving thanks to the coronavirus. Relatives try their best to care for their elderly loved ones from afar, and some have had to make difficult decisions about where these family members go for medical help or 24/7 care. Nursing homes have suffered during the pandemic, especially given the fact that older Americans are one of the groups more prone to COVID-19.
53 million Americans already act as caregivers to their loved ones – a number that has increased more than 20% in the past five years, according to a report from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. These volunteers spend almost 24 hours a week on care, even when facing their own medical or financial challenges. One in five supervises more than 41 hours per week, which corresponds to roughly as many hours as a full-time employee spends at their workplace.
See: This Revised Group Burns Out COVID-19: Family Caregivers
In honor of these caregivers, many of whom will do this job at all costs, the Stanford Center on Longevity has released its first podcast, "When I'm 64," which explains who and what carers are and which ones Resources from this could benefit you. The podcast episodes previously released include conversations with family carers and medical experts, and one features actor Seth Rogen and his wife Lauren Miller Rogen.
Ken Stern, the host of When I'm 64, spoke to MarketWatch about the misunderstandings surrounding care, what these family members need and how they might be helped in the future.
Market observation: Why is grooming the topic of this podcast?
Ken Stern: During the pandemic, we became increasingly aware of the challenges related to care. Usually it is more difficult at first and there is not much support for it and this job became more difficult during the pandemic, especially caring for an elderly loved one. So when we dealt with the topic of care, we recognized the massive social challenges and the massive family challenges. We can do our part by telling stories from carers and providing a source of inspiration and ideas to the millions of people who deal with it every day.
MW: What are some of the misconceptions about grooming and how does the podcast deal with it?
Star: One of the episodes of the podcast that I recommend is with Libby Brittain in Generation Z. One of the misconceptions is that carers are middle aged or older, and that's certainly a decent description, but 25% of carers are Millennials and Gen Z. . You & # 39; They begin their careers and harmonize life and work.
MW: Have you seen common nursing themes in these episodes so far?
Star: There is certainly a feeling of loneliness. There aren't enough resources to support you and one of the challenges with caregiving is finding yourself caregivers without planning it. There is a feeling of being thrown in without notice or expectation, especially young caregivers. The other thing you hear is that it takes a lot of people a long time to realize that they are caregivers. Some people reacted negatively to the caregiver saying things like, "I am a daughter, I will take care of my mother." It took a couple of years to say, "Hey, I'm actually a caregiver and that's how I see myself."
See also: Not expecting to be a caregiver? You'd better check with your parents for that
MW: There is an episode with actor Seth Rogen. Can you talk a little about what he and his wife had to say?
Star: His story begins with his wife, Lauren. Both parents had Alzheimer's and she had to take care of her mother and father (that was) just as she met Seth. So, the beginning of their relationship revolved around realizing that the mother was developing Alzheimer's disease and the challenge of first supporting her father and finally taking care of her father. It's an extraordinary story.
They realize how difficult it is to watch loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia get worse. 5.8 million people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's and this number is expected to double by 2050. They started a charity, HFC (short for "Hilarity for Charity"), where they are taking a break. One of the things about Alzheimer's is that you never go off duty. They give rest to people who just need a break and don't have the resources to pay for it.
MW: How can caregivers take care of themselves and why should they?
Star: Caregivers face major challenges – they have financial and health problems, and many of them report that they are depressed themselves. It is actually a minor epidemic when it comes to needing mental and physical help for caregivers. When caregivers fall apart, it's not good for anyone. One of the most difficult things is that there is no social support for caregivers. As people live longer, these challenges will increase. There is no broader American plan to help caregivers, and in this pandemic, companies are starting to talk about, for example, giving time off for these reasons. It's an amazing first step forward, but it's only the first step forward.
MW: How has care changed during the pandemic?
Star: How do you take care of someone for whom you cannot physically be present? We spoke to John Stagliano, a supervisor, on the podcast who has both parents in their eighties. They came down with COVID and protected themselves in place. They didn't want to go to the hospital because they feared the hospital, so he moved down from his house to be near them and did everything remotely. He was talking to them on video, dropping things on their door and trying to coordinate telemedicine.
MW: What have we learned from or for care amid this pandemic?
Star: We have learned that it is difficult and that it becomes more and more difficult. We learned that technology can make a difference. Like John's parents, they did everything via telemedicine. Things with technology will help, but what you hear from Steve Cole at UCLA on another episode with Laura Carstensen at Stanford is how important human connections are.
To put it in a broader context, the number of carers is 53 million. The pandemic aside, people are living longer and raising questions about care. There is no American solution. This is a challenge that will only increase and become more difficult in the future. So we should talk about it.
In an earlier version of this story, Lauren Miller Rye's father was mistakenly identified as an Alzheimer's patient. Her mother's parents and mother had Alzheimer's disease. It has been updated and corrected.