Paul and Susan were college sweethearts who had lived many adventures in their 38 years of marriage, including a stint with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan and teaching for two years in Norway, where their son James was born. The couple finally chose to settle in Reno, where they spent more than 20 years building their careers, family and community.
“My first recollection that something wasn’t right was when Susan wasn’t able to do simple addition or subtraction when balancing the checkbook,” says Paul. “Things got worse so we took her to a neurologist. He was the first person to bring up the possibility of Alzheimer’s.”
Today we released the 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures Report. This year’s report has some new information. I’m struck by two things in particular:
1.) The report found that Medicare payments for an older person with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are nearly three times higher while Medicaid payments are 19 times higher than for seniors without Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
2.) A special section in this year’s report about individuals living alone with Alzheimer’s disease highlights the sheer number of people in this situation (1 in 7 people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias lives alone) and the potential dangers they face.
It’s also alarming to see the statistic of the number of people who get Alzheimer’s every day. Two years ago, our report said one person would get the disease every 70 seconds. In 2011 the report said someone would get the disease every 69 seconds. This year, we report that someone will get the disease every 68 seconds. What a scary illustration of how rapidly this disease is growing and its potential to bankrupt our health care system!
You can view the full report at www.alz.org/facts, where you can also view a new video that highlights the facts as well as a brief fact sheet and information specific to each state.
In November we will once again cast our ballots for President and Congress. What are the major policy issues that affect Alzheimer’s families? Following is a summary of legislation that needs to be on your Federal candidate’s agenda:
THE NATIONAL ALZHEIMER’S PLAN
Synopsis: The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), unanimously passed with full bipartisan support in Congress and signed into law by President Obama, authorized the process currently underway to develop a national Alzheimer’s plan. The Department of Health and Human Services outlined its timetable for the development of the national Alzheimer’s plan with the first draft targeted for mid-February and a final plan unveiled in late spring. View the framework here:
If someone you care about is in a nursing home or residential care facility, you may have thought you could let your guard down now and then; but the truth of the matter is that we really can’t.
I just read some eye-opening news proving that the old adage “follow the money” is relevant, even in health care investigations. I remember reading a report back when I was responsible for developing employee benefit and health care programs for a large corporation. The report, by a pharmaceutical benefit management company, focused on educating pharmacists about the special needs of older adults. Certain medications are flat out inappropriate for older adults and others might be appropriate, but in different dosages. What may have worked when you’re 45 could be a disaster after 65. Great, I thought, some attention is being given to an older population that can both improve quality and reduce cost.
And, in fact, we can take comfort in the fact that the medication patients in nursing homes receive is reviewed by consultant pharmacists for the primary purpose of identifying unnecessary or potentially inappropriate drugs. Or can we?
As we wind down the year, I am reminded that there are so many avenues for our advocacy! In just the past few days, I’ve come across a variety of stories that have an important link to Alzheimer’s disease. Our advocacy is not linear – it is not boring – it zig-zags across many topics and many methods. Just consider some of the following: Continue reading “Advocacy isn’t all just politics” »
To eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
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Chapter Headquarters Alzheimer's Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada 1060 La Avenida, Mountain View, CA 94043 Phone 650.962.8111