The effects of Alzheimer’s on family

Posted under Blog on September 5th, 2013 by Editorial Team / No Comments

A recent MSNBC report illustrated the striking effects that Alzheimer’s has upon families. More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s diseases and facing up to the fact that no cure currently exists. Marking the beginning of National Alzheimer’s Month, the US station has launched a series of special reports focussing on the disease. Greater awareness and funding is essential to the progress of research in the area. Estimates from the National Institute of Health state that the US government will spend $562 million on Alzheimer’s research – a relatively low figure in comparison with the $3 billion on HIV/AIDS and the $5.7 billion to be spent fighting cancer. Yet Alzheimer’s is costing the US government $203 billion dollars annually. Beyond this, the emotional toll on individuals and their families is immeasurable. Susan Harvell was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at just 52 years old, leaving her family devastated. Dave Baker, her primary caregiver, said that “Alzheimer’s pretty much affects a family in every way that there is.” Maria Shriver helped care for her father throughout his time battling the disease. She commented that a once “idealist, intelligent, optimistic public servant” was left without the capacity to remember her name or who she was. “That’s the heartbreak and reality of Alzheimer’s” she said. With Alzheimer’s as the sixth leading cause of death in the US, the need for research and funding is evident.

Tags: carers, Early onset Alzheimer's, government spending



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