On February 7th Newsday released an article stating that a prediction based on U.S Census Bureau data suggests that the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease will triple by 2050. This study, recently published in the Journal of Neurology, was conducted by Rush University in Chicago. Their prediction is largely due to the greater life expectancy of the baby boomer generation.
In the Newsday article Ann Malack-Ragona, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center is quoted stating that signs of an increase on Long Island has already begun. The increasing number of families seeking help is disconcerting considering the state cutbacks in funding for adult day programs. Malack-Ragona estimates that it costs between $75,000 and $85,000 a year to care for someone with Alzheimer’s at home, which most people do. The alternative option is about $14,000-17,000 a month for nursing home care.
Despite these predictions, there may be hope for the future. A step in the right direction occurred on January 9, 2012, when The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an aggressive and coordinated effort to develop effective prevention and treatment modalities for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. This marks the first time the federal government has adopted a timeframe to stop Alzheimer’s and it is based upon the long awaited result of the National Alzheimer’s Project. The draft framework for the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease will attempt to “prioritize and accelerate the pace of scientific research and ensure that as evidence-based solutions are identified they are quickly translated, put into practice, and brought to scale so that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from the increase in scientific knowledge.” The draft framework is structured around five ambitious goals:
1. Prevent and Effectively Treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.
2. Optimize Care Quality and Efficiency.
3. Expand Patient and Family Support.
4. Enhance Public Awareness and Engagement.
5. Track Progress and Drive Improvement.
Small progression has even been made so far. George Vradenburg, chairman of the national advocacy organization USAgainstAlzheimer’s, told Newsday that, “there are drugs in development that have shown modest, positive impact in modifying early-stage disease.”
For more information about Alzheimer’s and Dementia please visit the following websites: