CLIFTON — November is recognized as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, a disease with a staggering cost to Americans.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Awareness month. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans were known to have the disease according to health website Integral Senior Living.
The incurable brain disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is estimated to affect 5.8 million Americans as of 2019. The Alzheimer’s Association says that number is likely to jump considerably in the coming decades.
“As the number of older Americans grows rapidly, so, too, will the number of new and existing cases of Alzheimer’s,” the association wrote. “By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia may grow to a projected 13.8 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or cure Alzheimer’s disease.”
In Arizona, there are 140,000 people living with the disease, and it takes a toll on more than just the patients. November is also National Family Caregivers month and it is a huge undertaking.
There are more than 330,000 family members that serve as unpaid caregivers for those affected by Alzheimer’s in Arizona. The Alzheimer’s Association places the value of total unpaid care received in the state at being $4.751 billion.
In the United States, about one in three of those caregivers are themselves aged 65 or older.
Those wanting to learn more about Alzheimer’s or how they can help put an end to this disease can visit https://www.alz.org/.