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Report calls Alzheimer's 'the defining disease of Baby Boomers'

February 1, 2011
by Patricia Sheehan, Editor-in-Chief
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Being a member of the Baby Boomer generation (albeit at the tail end, she points out), I naturally take great interest in news stories that document significant events and trends that affect this group—from the shortage of college openings in the late ‘70s, to the Yuppie phenomenon of the ‘80s, to the recent impact of the Great Recession on unemployed 50-year-olds.

So it was with a mounting feeling of dread that I reviewed a report released last week by the Alzheimer’s Association that called the feared condition “the defining disease of Baby Boomers.” As the Boomers age, one out of eight of them will develop Alzheimer’s—a devastating, costly disease.

According to the compelling, well-written report, “Generation Alzheimer’s,” it’s expected that 10 million Baby Boomers will either die with or from Alzheimer’s—the only one of the top 10 causes of death in America without a known way to prevent, cure, or even slow its progression. The report also details the negative cascading effects this disease places on millions of caregivers, including heartbreaking personal accounts of families struggling to care for loved ones.

In addition to the human toll, the report states that over the next 40 years Alzheimer’s will cost the nation $20 trillion, enough to pay off the national debt and still send a $20,000 check to every man, woman, and child in America—unless the federal government commits to changes.

“Alzheimer’s—with its broad ranging impact on individuals, families, Medicare, and Medicaid—has the power to bring the country to its financial knees,” says the association’s Robert J. Egge, vice president of Public Policy, in a press release. “But when the federal government has been focused, committed, and willing to put the necessary resources to work to confront a disease that poses a real public health threat to the nation—there has been great success. In order to see the day where Alzheimer’s is no longer a death sentence, we need to see that type of commitment with Alzheimer’s.”

Click here to register for the report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

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Patricia Sheehan

Patricia Sheehan

@longtermliving

Patricia Sheehan wrote for Long-Term Living when she was editor-in-chief. She left that...