Early Diagnosis Beneficial for People with Dementia
A TPT documentary aims the national spotlight on looming Alzheimer’s “epidemic” and its financial and emotional toll on families. The devastating impact of Alzheimer’s disease on his own mother — and on his father, who struggled to care for her — first prompted Gerry Richman to take a hard look at the disease. As vice president of national productions at Twin Cities Public Television, he was the mastermind behind a 2004 Emmy-winning documentary called “The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s.” Now, Richman is back with another eye-opening film on the subject. “Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts” — airing across the country Wednesday — chronicles the struggles of people living with Alzheimer’s and the emotional and financial challenges it poses for their families. It also forecasts, through interviews with doctors and researchers, a looming crisis for the country as baby boomers enter their senior years and their risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases. The current numbers are scary enough. More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s — with one new case identified every minute. In addition to the emotional toll, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to take care of someone with Alzheimer’s, making it one of the most expensive diseases and provoking some health experts to predict that it will collapse both Medicare and Medicaid — and the finances of millions of people. Although Alzheimer’s can strike people younger than 65, it generally occurs in those much older. The risk of developing the disease doubles every five years after 65, according to the National Institute on Aging. It becomes much more common among people in their 80s and 90s. With longer life spans come greater numbers of people at risk of Alzheimer’s. “There hasn’t been a large population of 85-year-olds until this generation,” Arledge said.
David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.