How much do you know?

Do you like trivia?  I personally love it, anything from trivia nights to trivia card games. So I have a tough one for you. Of the top 10 causes of death in America, do you know the ONLY cause that you can not prevent, cure or even slow its progression

I’ll give you a few hints, it’s the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Right now, over 5 million Americans are living with it & another develops the disease every 68 seconds! By 2050, this number increases to every 33 seconds!*

Give up?  The answer is Alzheimer’s disease.  If you were stunned by the facts, know that you’re not the only one unaware of how serious it really is. Currently 1 in every 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.* Since this disease attacks the brain, it isn’t normally suspected until someone is increasingly forgetful. Some of the symptoms include things like memory loss of recent events, difficulty learning new tasks, personality and mood changes, lack of judgment and place and time disorientation. The course of the disease is generally slow but progresses until the individual is unable to care for themselves.

This is becoming a multi generational issue for those who are affected by this horrible disease. In 2012, 15.4 million family and friends provided 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care to those with the disease.* This can lead to strained family relationships as they struggle to stay afloat, added emotional stress and even additional medical costs for the caregivers themselves. More than 1/3 of caregivers even report symptoms of depression.*

Alzheimer’s patients or those with dementia often require different care that is more intense. The level of care needed depends on the severity. Someone who is a stage 1 patient that suffers from disorientation and short term memory loss may be a good candidate for home health care so their environment feels familiar and safe.  Someone with stage 3 would be more suitable for an Alzheimer’s facility.

The care for Alzheimer’s patients can be more expensive than other types of care. In 2013, the nation will spend $203 billion on Alzheimer’s care.  It is expected to rise to $1.2 trillion by 2050.* Private pay through long term care insurance or investments are the only other means to pay for care. Since the disease can last for a number of years, many Alzheimer’s patients risk running out of money. This is an increasing & undesirable problem. Consumers are starting to realize that long term care insurance policies could pay for care as a result of a cognitive impairment. This gives a piece of mind to many spouses and family members.

So where does these leave future generations? We already know those affected by the disease and the cost of care are on the rise. We also are aware of many factors that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s such as age, family history and heredity. If this describes your family, you can put some strategies in place for future long-term care expenses. Planning for long term care can be tricky and should be tailored to your individual situation.  Be sure to consult a financial advisor to help determine what would work best for you.

As we speak, research is being conducted for more effective diagnosis and treatment options.  Research of this type has a large price tag and additional funding is needed. A “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” is taking place in our area this month. If this article stirred you heart, please consider donating for the cause.  Or better yet, attend the walk. And if you want to be really bold, put together a team to walk. It’s on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at SIUE, 650-699 Harpin Drive,Edwardsville, IL 62026.  Registration begins at8am, the walk begins at 9am. I have been to it personally. It is a powerful and fun event for the whole family! I have included a website for someone named Kristy Rosnick.  On her page, she tells the story of why she walks. Her story will bring a tear to you eye.  You can also donate directly to her team from her page.

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