If you have a loved one or friend that suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, that question likely sparks a bit of fear in you. Rightly so too. I spend a lot of time reading about Alzheimer’s and dementia since our family is currently coping with the disease. There will more and more of us doing the same thing over the next decade.
In the articles I read, more and more reports are showing expected doubling–and more—of those who will be diagnosed with Alzheimers. Some reports speculate that as many as one million new cases a year are possible as baby boomers age.
That has made me think even more seriously about the disease. It makes me wonder how will the health system handle it, not to mention Medicare. As the number increases, the need for more facilities will become urgent, and many more caregivers as well. It takes a special heart to work with memory care patients. Those hearts may not be as easy to find.
When you consider that need, don’t forget that it’s called “The Long Goodbye.” People with Alzheimer’s have the disease (once diagnosed) for an average of eight years. Our mother is going into her fifteenth year. It is mind boggling to me to think of a million or so people a year needing care for a decade, added to those already in care. That will probably mean that more will have to be cared for at home. The stress of that is a very real concern.
We hear of pushes for increased funding. We should probably all be pushing for that goal. Right now, the government spends around $500 million a year on research for the disease. That is hardly anything when compared to the amount spent for cancer research—close to 5 billion! At the same time Alzheimer’s disease is already costing over $200 billion a year for care.
Don’t forget, the disease is one of the top five causes of death now. There is no cure. There is no effective treatment yet. There are a few drugs that may slow the early stages, but that is about it.
All the more reason a cure must be s priority–or at least a treatment.
All the more reason to do everything you can to prevent it now while you are younger. Even if you are a senior, there are steps suggested that will help. In the article you can read here , it shows you the areas to consider. In future articles I’ll break down the three main areas of exercise, diet, and mental stimulation.
If you would like to read further, you can visit http://alzheimershq.com. There you will find current news and my family’s personal story dealing with Alzheimers.
December 21, 2014
Yes, this is the disease I fear the most. It’s the issue of separating and identifying what is ‘normal’ forgetfulness that comes from ageing, from what could be the early onset of Alzheimers. The dilemma is deciding when/if to check this out – wanting to/not wanting to – because knowing that being diagnosed with Alzheimers is a death sentence. You are right about the relative small amounts of funding invested in Alzheimers research for a cure for this dreadful affliction. My donations go in this direction these days, rather than toward cancer research.
January 3, 2015
Thank you Colin. I know just what you mean. And it would probably make it worse if we knew. I’ve been looking into the numbers more. It’s pretty scary to see where it is going.
December 11, 2014
Merry, in answer to your question, yes, I am afraid of Alzheimer’s. I’ve already experienced first-hand what it does to a loved one and the family.
I am grateful for your time and dedication in bringing us your story and helping all of us understand the disease better. Thank you, too, for giving us resources and information to navigate all the aspects–personal, financial, medical.
January 3, 2015
Thank you Kathryn. It is encouraging when I see some of the research being done now. It often seems like it is so close! Hopefully we will see treatment AND a cure in the next few years.