5 Ways to Reach Alzheimer’s Caregivers

5 Ways to Reach Alzheimer’s Caregivers

5 Ways to Reach Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Worldwide, 47 million people are living with Alzheimer's and other dementias1. This means that there are more than 15 million Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers in the United States alone1. These caregivers are at Alzheimer’s patients’ side each and every day, helping with daily tasks, from household chores to medication administration. Being a caregiver for a loved one is an immense responsibility and, for many individuals, it comes with physical and emotional stress.

When recruiting Alzheimer’s patients for research studies, you’re recruiting caregivers as well. Here are a few strategies that have worked for us.

  1. Open houses
    Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers spend quite a bit of time at study sites, so it’s important that they feel comfortable in the environment. Extending invitations to open houses and providing tours allows patients and caregivers to familiarize themselves with the site and meet the staff they’ll be interacting with. It’s also an excellent opportunity to offer patient pre-screening.
     
  2. Concierge service
    More than 40% of family caregivers report that the emotional stress of their role is high or very high, and in 2014 alone, they spent $9.7 billion in additional healthcare costs of their own1. Easing a caregiver’s emotional and financial burden is an essential function to successfully recruiting Alzheimer’s patients. A concierge service that arranges for the safe transport of patients to and from the study site is one seemingly small convenience that goes a long way.
     
  3. Virtual dementia tours
    As their disease progresses, seemingly simple tasks become more and more difficult for individuals suffering from symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Caregivers frequently help with these tasks, but may not fully realize just how difficult dressing, bathing, and other ordinary tasks can be. Virtual dementia tours, which can be arranged at open houses, put caregivers in the patients’ shoes. For example, a caregiver might be asked to put on oven mitts and complete a task that is normally second-nature, like buttoning a shirt or writing their name. These activities remind the caregivers of the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s, and reinforce how important their role is to their loved one. Combined with free Alzheimer’s screenings, this has been a very successful recruitment activity.
     
  4. Ad campaigns
    When recruiting patients and caregivers, it’s important to know your audience. Typically, caregivers are close to or are middle-aged, caring for their parents with children of their own at home. Considering the age and lifestyle of the caregiver population, print ads in local, family-centric publications are a fraction of the cost of a daily newspaper placement and generally work very well.
     
  5. Incentives
    Caregivers don’t hear “thank you” nearly as often as they should. By providing personalized tokens of appreciation, study sponsors can generate increased interest among the caregiver population. Items that speak specifically to each caregiver, such as birthday and anniversary cards, tickets to a local sporting event, or a thank-you lunch that brings participants together all go a long way in showing appreciation.

Currently, Alzheimer’s is the only disease in the top ten causes of death that can’t be prevented, cured, or slowed1. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are diligently driving innovative therapy options that give Alzheimer’s patients hope, and to ensure that those treatments reach the patients who need them the most, we need to be cognizant of the fundamental role that caregivers play.

Contact us today to learn how we can implement caregiver-centric recruitment strategies for your Alzheimer’s or dementia study.

 

Related Reading

 

1 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer’s Association®