Over the past hundred years, average life expectancy in America has nearly doubled, due largely to scientific and medical advances, but also as a consequence of safer working conditions, a heightened awareness of the importance of diet and health, and other factors.
Yet while longevity is celebrated as an achievement in modern civilization, the longer people live, the more likely they are to succumb to chronic, terminal illnesses.
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.