CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — The number of people living with Alzheimer’s is growing and the costs associated with their care are staggering. In Connecticut alone, the cost is nearly $1 billion annually and increasing according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that diminishes brain cells leading to a decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills, impacting a person’s ability to live independently. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Anyone can get the disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, scientists believe it’s caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors. Statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association show that the majority of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia are over the age of 65, but there are presently 200,000 people in the U.S. below 65 who have been diagnosed with it.
Some notable people who have died from Alzheimer’s include Former President Ronald Reagan, Tennessee Women’s Basketball Coach Pat Summitt and Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks.
Seventy-eight thousand Connecticut residents are among the 5 billion people nationally living with the disease. Every 65 seconds someone in the United States will develop the disease and the number of Connecticut residents with it is projected to reach 91,000 by 2025 and nationally 14 million by 2050.
If you are having any memory issues or if you know someone who is don’t ignore it. Take those concerns to a doctor.
At this time Alzheimer’s is not preventable. However, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, there is evidence that you can do things that can reduce the risk of cognitive decline, including keeping your blood pressure in check, exercise, eating a healthy diet and engaging in cognitive and social stimulation.
The cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia is expected to increase drastically in the coming years and decades according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Alzheimer’s Association also estimates that caregivers in Connecticut are giving 202,000,000 hours of unpaid care valued at almost $2.6 billion. Nationwide it’s 18.5 billion unpaid hours valued at $234 billion.
WEB EXTRA: Experts answer your questions about Alzheimer’s disease in a Facebook Live
In addition, The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has just launched a chat feature through its helpline making available real time help in 90 languages. The feature can be accessed at The Alzheimer’s Foundation website or texting on a mobile device to 646-586-5283.