Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), a federation of 73 national Alzheimer’s organizations, recently released a report on the economic impact of the disease. In the U.S., there are as many as 5.3 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and every 70 seconds someone in America develops the incurable illness. In 2010, there will be a half million new cases of Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, it looks like the disease is growing exponentially. In 2050, ADI predicts nearly a million new cases every year.
In 2006, Alzheimer’s was the seventh leading cause of death in the country. While death rates are thankfully decreasing for heart disease, prostate and breast cancer, Alzheimer’s deaths rose 46.1 percent from 2000-2006.
This disease is reaching epidemic proportions and has become a national crisis. Like all terrible illnesses, it discriminates against no one. Long term health costs continue to escalate. Caring for those affected with Alzheimer’s and other dementias cost U.S. society a total of $172 billion, including $122 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.
This tremendous strain on the already overburdened state and federal health care costs will only get worse if the U.S. government does not start to invest in substantial research for its cure. Certain evidence-based prevention strategies should be further developed immediately.
Alzheimer’s Association is currently working to enact legislation, the “National Alzheimer’s Project Office” (S. 3036/H.R. 4689), that will outline a national plan to overcome the Alzheimer’s crisis. It will include strategic planning and coordination for the fight against the disease including initiatives for research, care and support.
“We need all Americans concerned about Alzheimer’s disease to tell their representatives in Congress and the President to pass the Act […],” said Robert Egge, Vice President of Public Policy for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Families and friends are encouraged to contact their state senators and representatives to show their support for the “National Alzheimer’s Project Office” bill (S. 3036/H.R. 4689).
A consultation with a New York elder law attorney is essential to know your rights and to avoid impoverishment if you or a loved one must care for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.