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The growing cost of Alzheimer's Disease
Story Updated: May 19, 2010
(WKTV) - A new report released Wednesday by the Alzheimer's Association says that the cost of Alzheimer's disease is growing in more ways than one.
The Alzheimer's Association says that without more research for treatments, the costs of care for the disease will exceed $20 trillion over the next 40 years.
The number of cases of Alzheimer's Disease is significantly increasing in Americans 65 and older. Right now, more than 45,000 people in Central New York have Alzheimer's Disease, representing a 25% increase in the disease since 2000.
With that increase comes a rise in the cost of care not just for patients, but for everyone.
The Alzheimer's Association projects that annual medicare costs will increase more than 600% over the next 40 years.
There are no treatments that can prevent, delay, slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Without a cure, the bigger problem seems to be how to handle the growing number of Alzheimer's patients.
The Central New York Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association calls the government's reaction"stunningly neglectful." They also call Alzheimer's an unfolding natural disaster that needs more government attention.
Julie Darling has been working for the Alzheimer's Association for two years. Prior to that, she was no stranger to the strain Alzheimer's brings on a family. Her grandmother had Alzheimer's and she remembers it all too well.
"I feel as if the government is taking a backseat, because all of us in the community are doing so as well," Darling said. "And (they will) until they hear community members making the phone calls, writing letters, letting them know that its important to each and everyone one of us. Whether we're dealing with it with someone in our own families, neighbor or friend, or even if it's not someone we actually know, we're still being affected by the amount of cost that comes with this disease."
But the Alzheimer's Association is working to enact new legislation, called the National Alzheimer's Project Act, that would open a federal office with an advisory council that gets the government working on finding a cure.
The Utica Office of the Alzheimer's Association wants the public to know they can answer questions on how to cope with the disease and they also provide support groups.
A helpline is offered by the Alzheimer's Association, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-272 -3900.