However, every few months the association likes to hold an informational meetings to help reach out and aid more people touched by Alzheimer’s.
Amy French, program coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association, explained at Thursday night’s, “Generation Alzheimer’s: Babyboomers Beware!” the impact the disease is now having on the boomer generation.
“Every day 10,000 people turn 65, and 1 in 8 of those individuals will develop Alzheimer’s,” she told the crowd.
According to French, 10 million baby boomers are expected to die of the disease, and millions more will be affected as caregivers and loved ones to those suffering from the debilitating condition.
“Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. More people die of Alzheimer’s than breast and prostate cancer combined,” said French.
According to the association’s website, Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the top 10 that is not preventable, curable or even slowed, and while death rates for many lethal diseases have declined, Alzheimer’s has seen a 20 percent increase in the number of cases since 2000.
That is why the Alzheimer’s Association is dedicating so much of its efforts to educating people about the disease and providing support to those with and around Alzheimer’s.
“In the next 40 years we will pay $20 trillion dollars because of Alzheimer’s. That’s enough to pay off our national debt and still send every man, woman and child in the U.S. a $20,000 check,” she said.
In Tennessee last year more than 400,000 caregivers provided almost $5.5 million in unpaid care to the state’s 120,000 patients with Alzheimer’s, and currently those numbers are only expected to go up.
The Associated Press reported that nearly 15 million caregivers nation wide are providing 17 billion hours of unpaid care. That care is valued at more than $202 billion. The report also states that the physical toll on caregivers translates into almost $8 billion in extra health care costs.
“We are all impacted by Alzheimer’s, either by knowing someone with the disease or helping to shoulder the financial burden created by the disease,” French explained.
While there are no cures for the disease, French offered a few tips on helping deal with and make preparations in case Alzheimer’s takes hold.
Alzheimer’s is one of the most common forms of dementia, and is a progressive disease that slowly deteriorates the mind’s ability to function, so French recommends working out the mind on a daily basis, strengthening the brain by learning new things and, by doing so, increasing the number of neural connections.
In addition, eating a healthy, balanced diet is believed to help promote brain health and might help reduce the risk factors of Alzheimer’s.
“But, even in these horrible circumstances we need to find hope. Right now there is current research to stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks,” said French.
She told those gathered that treatment to completely stop the progression of Alzheimer’s could become available within the next decade.
The association’s monthly support group meets at 5:30 p.m. every third Thursday of the month at Garden Plaza’s cafe.