As many as 5 million Americans already have it, and every 70 seconds someone else will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that affects memory and cognitive functioning, robbing its victims of the ability to care for themselves. Imagine looking into the mirror and not recognizing yourself. Alzheimer’s disease steals memories, the precious bits and pieces that make up our lives. It is a disease that is as horrifying to those who must bear witness as it is to those who have it.
In addition to the physical and emotional toll, the Alzheimer’s Association, reports that Alzheimer’s and dementia triple health care costs for Americans age 65 and older.
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.
The Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2009 calls for a significant increase in federal Alzheimer research funding — to $2 billion. Alzheimer’s patients and their families are counting on your support to persuade Congress to pass this legislation and increase funding.
There is no cure yet, but treatments for symptoms, combined with the right services and support, can make life better for millions of Americans.
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.”
Photo: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services