Navigation Links
Almost 15 Million Americans Now Caring for Loved One With Alzheimer's
Date:3/15/2011

By Madonna Behen
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 15 million Americans are caring for someone with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, and the number is rising, according to a report released Tuesday.

"People with Alzheimer's who are otherwise healthy may live as long as 20 or 25 years," said William H. Thies, chief medical and scientific officer at the Alzheimer's Association, which is publishing the report in the March issue of its journal, Alzheimer's & Dementia. "These are individuals who need increasing levels of care over time, and that can be very difficult for families.

About 5.4 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease, and their 14.9 million caregivers provided a total of 17 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $200 billion, according to the report, which also highlights the physical and emotional burdens that caregivers face every day.

"There's a real lack of understanding among families about the toll that this disease is ultimately going to take," said Beth Kallmyer, senior director of constituent services at the Alzheimer's Association.

"Too many people wait until they're in a middle of a crisis to seek help, which is why we encourage people to start the care-planning process as soon as someone gets the diagnosis," she said.

Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed, the report noted.

What's more, while the death rates for heart disease, stroke and several other major diseases declined from 2000 to 2008, deaths related to Alzheimer's disease increased by 66 percent. By the year 2050, the annual total number of new cases of Alzheimer's and other dementias is expected to double.

Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said that newly diagnosed patients and their families often receive little if any information about support services.

"The physical exam and the X-ray and the meds, all of which don't have a big impact on preserving a person's independence, are the things that are paid for by insurance, while things like talking and counseling tend to be discounted, and so they're not covered," Kennedy said.

The disease is particularly hard on caregivers, he said, because of behavior changes that often accompany the person's memory problems.

"If people with the illness become aggressive, or they try to push their family members away, or they become so agitated that they can't sleep at night, these are the kinds of issues that can make it very hard for family members to cope," Kennedy said.

Another caregiving expert said that people need to know what their limits are and what they're good at and then share the responsibilities of care so that no one person shoulders the entire burden.

"Maybe one adult child is good with numbers and can handle the finances, while the other can visit Mom two or three times a week," said Kym Hance, director of client and community services at Home Helpers and Direct Link in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. "You don't want people to get to the point where they're so burned out they can't handle it anymore."

A valuable resource for caregivers, Kallmyer said, is the Alzheimer's Association's 24/7 Helpline (800-272-3900). "We average around a quarter-million calls a year, but with 15 million caregivers out there, we aren't as well known as we'd like to be," she said.

More than 30 drugs currently in clinical trials are aimed at slowing or stopping the progression of the disease, Thies noted. But the earliest any of these drugs could be on the market is four to five years from now, and it might end up being closer to 10 or 12 years.

In the meantime, he said, the government needs to significantly increase its level of funding for dementia research.

For every $28,000 that Medicare and Medicaid spend on care for individuals with Alzheimer's and other dementias, the U.S. National Institutes of Health spends only $100 on Alzheimer's research, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Unless more federal funding is allocated for new research, "this is a crisis that's going to bankrupt our health-care system," Thies said. "It's not something we think is going to happen. We know it's going to happen."

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more on Alzheimer's disease.

SOURCES: William H. Thies, Ph.D., chief medical and scientific officer, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; Beth Kallmyer, senior director, constituent services, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; Gary Kennedy, M.D., director, division of geriatric psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Kym Hance, director, client and community services, Home Helpers and Direct Link, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; March 15, 2011, 2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer's Association; March 2011, Alzheimer's & Dementia


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Almost 12 Million Cancer Survivors Living in U.S., Report Shows
2. Docs Rate Almost 1 in 5 Patients as Difficult: Study
3. Almost Half of Elderly Report Pain in Lifes Final Months
4. Almost One-Quarter of U.S. Adults Have Arthritis
5. DASH Diet Shown to Lower Heart Attack Risk Almost 20%
6. Almost 1 in 3 First-Time Deliveries Now Via C-Section
7. TB Claims One Life Every 17 Seconds; Almost Two Million People Each Year
8. Almost three quarters of women with rheumatoid arthritis worldwide suffer pain daily
9. Almost Half of Deaths in Kids Under 5 Occur in 5 Countries
10. Dental Operatory Equipment and Practice Management Software Market in the U.S. to Reach Almost $2 Billion by 2016
11. Cutting Salt Could Prevent Almost 500,000 Heart Attacks
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Almost 15 Million Americans Now Caring for Loved One With Alzheimer's 
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with growing colorful ... Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color brings the ... can now reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful panels. , ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating ... many ways they remain in the eye of the beholder, according to experts who ... of The American Journal of Managed Care. For the full issue, click here ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Lake Orion, Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June ... ... direction with respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These ... tolerable intercourse but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest ... as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We are ... Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June 14 on ... article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo ... such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... -- Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ ) ... Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ("HSR"), with respect ... Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired effective June 24, ... As previously announced on May 31, 2016, Jazz Pharmaceuticals ... which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a tender offer for ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , June 26, 2016 ... value-based care operating models within the health care industry ... greater financial efficiency , Deloitte offers a suite ... key business issues impacting efficient cost optimization: labor resource ... , These services facilitate better outcomes and better economics ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ... development and manufacturing of collagen and mineral based ... today that Bill Messer has joined ... to further leverage the growing portfolio of oral ... Bill joins the Collagen Matrix executive ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: