In early March, Alzheimer’s Association released its new facts and figures on the extent of the disease and its toll. They report that, in the United States, an estimated 5.4 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including at least 800,000 who live alone.
According the report, unless something is done to change the trajectory of the disease, as many as 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s by 2050.
The cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated to total $200 billion in 2012 and is projected to increase to $1.1 trillion per year (in today’s dollars) by mid-century.
In New York State, the Association estimates there are currently 320,000 people living with Alzheimer’s, and most of whom are being cared for by the nearly 1,000,000 family members and loved ones that the Association calls “unpaid caregivers".
The Association also estimates that in New York state alone, the estimated increased cost of healthcare for those 1 million caregivers, due to the stress on them and their health, is over $689 million.
Statistics show that caregivers often recognize symptoms, but avoid pursuing a diagnosis in order to avoid what they perceive as a stigma attached to the disease.
Meanwhile, many of the symptoms they have identified are also symptoms of diseases and conditions that are TREATABLE, rather than Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a program called “Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters.”
Here to talk about that, and other programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Northeastern New York chapter are Program Manager and Support Group Liaison Karen Britt and Director of Development Theresa Setzer.