In October, I found out my mother, who is 71, had early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, and my 76-year-old father, for now, is her sole caregiver.
AD is a rapidly growing disease that is greatly impacting our country, our state, families like mine who are on the front lines of caregiving, and those who are suffering from this incurable disease.
Although the passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act is a huge step in the right direction, much more is needed to meaningfully help these families.
According to 2010 state statistics, there are 110,000 Washingtonians with AD, many of whom are cared for by approximately 310,000 unpaid caregivers who provide about 350 million hours of unpaid care worth about $4.2 million a year.
It’s estimated that AD is going to cost the United States $200 billion this year in health care and that the annual cost will increase to over $1 trillion by 2050 if we don’t do something now.
These families need more community support, both medically and financially, because too many are losing everything they worked so hard to attain in order to provide proper health care for their loved ones.