Nearly half of all seniors who need some form of long term care, from help at home to institutional care, have dementia. That’s from the World Alzheimer Report which came out a few weeks ago.
The report further states that cognitive impairment is the strongest predictor of who will move into a care facility in the next two years. That is 7.5 times greater than people stricken with cancer, heart disease or other chronic ailments.
More than 35 million people worldwide, including 5 million in the U.S., are estimated to have Alzheimer’s. Unless some miracle cure is found these numbers are expected to double by the year 2050.
Unfortunately the U.S. is investing only $400 million a year in Alzheimer’s research. But the disease’s financial toll is estimated to be $200 billion per year. Compare that to the budget of the National Cancer Institute, part of the Department of Health and Human Services. For the last 6 years it has had a budget of $4.9 billion per year.
It’s time for caregivers, advocates and families stricken by Alzhemier’s to come to together to demand a push to end this brain disease. The world’s governments and researchers came together to turn the AIDS virus from a death sentence to a chronic disease and the same force of will can turn Alzheimer’s around.
If you want to get a clear picture of what Alzhemier’s is like from the patient’s perspective I suggest you read Lisa Genova’s book, “Still Alice” or read Dr. David Hilfiker’s blog, “Watching the Lights Go Out.” He is a retired physician who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in September, 2012, Lisa Genova’s book is fictional but was based on her experiences working with support groups for people who contracted the disease.
During my 33 years as a financial advisor I met with many couples and strongly recommended that they put together a long term care plan while they were healthy. I was emphatic when I suggested that they consider buying long term care insurance to protect themselves. Most people don’t realize that medicare will not cover the custodial care that an Alzheimer’s patient will require. It is only available for up to 100 days if a person is expected to recover from an illness or injury.
Long term care insurance covers cognitive impairment from Alzhemier’s or other forms of dementia. Time and time again people told me that long term care insurance was too expensive. But all they had to do was to talk to a few of my clients who discovered that the cost of care was much more expensive! Here in New England care in a residence that focused on those with mental impairment averages more than $8000 per month and in some cases is over $10,000 a month.