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Alzheimer’s Disease Out of the Shadows

Alzheimer’s Disease Out of the Shadows

Imagine looking into the mirror and not recognizing yourself. Or the pain of not being recognized by someone who has known you your entire life. Alzheimer’s disease robs its victims of memories, the precious bits and pieces that make up our lives. It is a disease that is equally as horrifying to those who must bear witness.

HBO, teaming up with the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging, in its 4-part series, “The Alzheimer’s Project,” seeks to bring this mysterious illness out of hiding and into the light of day. 

In addition to the physical and emotional toll, Alzheimer’s is expensive, and cannot be ignored when discussing the crushing cost of health care. A poll cited by HBO.com indicates that three out of ten people provide at least some support to an Alzheimer’s patient, whether it be emotional or in providing caregiving. More than one person in ten provides financial support averaging more than $400 per month.

The sad fact is that there are as many as 5.3 million people (including 200,000 under age 65) in the United States with Alzheimer’s, and that Alzheimer’s and dementia triple the health care costs for people over the age of 65.

As the disease progresses, expenses include:

* diagnostic tests and follow up visits

* prescription medications

* personal care supplies

* home health care workers

* adult day services

* assisted living care

* nursing home care

* treating other medical conditions

Medical insurance and Medicare may cover some of these costs, but a huge burden falls to the individual or family. Very often other family members leave paying jobs to provide in-home care for loved ones.

Contrary to popular belief, severe memory loss is not a natural part of aging, but a symptom of serious illness. Alzheimer’s disease destroys brain cells, causing memory loss, behavior change, and loss of body functions. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, think, and take care of himself. Alzheimer’s has been known to strike people as early as their 30s. The Alzheimer’s Association provides an enlightening list of myths and facts that help clear the confusion about Alzheimer’s.

Speaking of former President Reagan’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, Nancy Reagan is quoted as saying, “Ronnie’s long journey has finally taken him to a distant place where I can no longer reach him. Because of this I’m determined to do whatever I can to save other families from this pain.” 

Alzheimer’s touches most families at some point. Visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s Public Policy Forum to find out what you can do to help. Join the Cause, and Write Congress to request increased funding for important Alzheimer’s research. 

If you don’t catch the series on HBO, you can watch it here: The Alzheimer’s Project.

 

Source: Alzheimer’s Association

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3 comments

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1:26PM PDT on May 23, 2009

Thank God my mother who passed to the otherside of curtain (because of a fall) at eighty-eight (88) never had this horrible problem and my aunt who is my mother's sister is still alive at ninety-eight (98) is still sound of mind. I can't even imagine what it must be like to have to live with this in my family.
This is one thing that science has to come with to cure this horrible problem TODAY.

MAY GOD BLESS THE FAMILES AND THE PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING THROUGH THIS NOW AND FOR ALL TIME AS I AM SURE HE WILL!!!

8:41AM PDT on May 20, 2009

Care2 family, I just want to say "Thank You" for sharing this video about this most dreaded illness. I believe that information is one of the most valuable gifts that we can have in life to combat this horrible monster. At 60 years young I do have fear that someday my children and "Grands" may have to face this monster thru me.....hope and pray not but,thru diet and exercise maybe not!

7:39AM PDT on May 20, 2009

We are susceptible to this disease !!!! We need to learn more about early detection...if its available !!!!!

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