To the Editor:
According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report which was released Wednesday, March 19, an estimated 5.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease today. As the baby boomers age, this number is projected to reach 16 million people in 2050. In Connecticut, there are currently an estimated 72,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease.
As my wife and I learned as caregivers for my father and her mother, both of whom had Alzheimer’s, care giving is a most difficult challenge when trying to balance care giving activities with life’s other day-to-day responsibilities. In 2013, unpaid caregivers in the US, usually family members, provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of care at a value over $220.2 billion. In Connecticut, the numbers are 201 million hours and $2.5 billion.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US, yet it is still widely misunderstood and underreported. As there is not yet a cure for this disease, there is still much work to be done at federal and state levels to fund research to find a cure, provide relief and support for caregivers, and continue educating the public about the disease. Progress has been made in Washington with the passage of the country’s first-ever National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and in Connecticut with last year’s passage of legislation to develop a State Alzheimer’s Plan.
On behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter and as a member of its Board of Directors, we have many programs and services for families who are affected by Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. I urge anyone with a need to contact our organization to determine what resources are available to help. Contact information: Helpline 1-800-272-3900; website www.alz.org/ct.
18 Greenleaf Farms Road, Newtown March 21, 2014