Alzheimer’s – A Disease That’s Touched Us All

“Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases.”[1]

To many of us, Alzheimer’s is more than just a disease. I heard once that in some way, we are all touched by Alzheimer’s disease, whether as a patient, caregiver, family member, friend, or acquaintance of one who is living with the disease.

Contrary to myth, memory loss is not a natural part of aging. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are serious problems that as of now seem to have no cure. An estimated 5.4 million Americans are currently suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. Thirteen to sixteen million Americans are projected to have the disease by 2050, costing approximately one trillion dollars in medical expenses.

Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading killer in America. Those who have Alzheimer’s slowly lose their memories, and die without ever knowing they were a mother, father, neighbor, or friend. The U.S. government has recognized Alzheimer’s as a growing problem and have resolved to help.

Two weeks ago the Associated Press announced, “The government is setting what it calls an ambitious goal for Alzheimer’s disease: Development of effective ways to treat and prevent the mind-destroying illness by 2025.”[2]

Among  other goals, the government hopes “to improve timely diagnosis and improve support and training for families so they know what resources are available for patients and what to expect as dementia worsens.”[2]

Today about half of those with Alzheimer’s have not been formally diagnosed. This is in part because of the belief that nothing can be done, that Alzheimer’s is incurable. We used to believe that diseases like scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and breast cancer were incurable, yet our scientists never gave up and now victims of these diseases can be cured.

The most important thing to remember when your loved one is diagnosed with such a disease as Alzheimer’s is to never lose hope. As the government makes steps toward curing Alzheimer’s, we too must make steps toward helping our loved ones know that we have not given up.

_____________________

[1] Alzheimer’s Association (800.272.3900)

[2] Neergaard, Lauran. “U.S. wants effective Alzheimer’s treatment by 2025.” Associated Press. (2012)


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About National Care Planning Council

The National Care Planning Council and its affiliated members are dedicated to helping families recognize the need for long term care planning. We are committed to raising awareness and providing information on common eldercare issues. Integrity, honesty, and a genuine concern for the elderly and their families are at the heart of our services.

Posted on January 31, 2012, in Alzheimer's/Dementia and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

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