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Letter to the editor: Alzheimer's report shows increasing burden on nation

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 12:01 am

The recent release of the 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report reveals the increasing burden of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia on individuals, caregivers, government and the nation’s health care system.

Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. It is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent it, cure it or even slow its progression.

Deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 68 percent between 2000 and 2010, while deaths from other major diseases decreased. An estimated 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s in 2013, and this number is expected to rise to 13.8 million by 2050.

These daunting statistics require action. Eleven Hoosiers from across the state will take part in the Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C. While there we will meet with our congressional delegation to discuss the importance of research, the need for caregiver support and the disease’s impact.

Another important milestone in combating the disease is the release of the Indiana Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias this month. The 17 members of the Governor’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia met for two years. During that time, they heard from experts, held town hall meetings and analyzed the over 1,000 responses to an in-depth survey. The report addresses everything from public awareness to dementia training for first responders and research.

Read the plan by following the link on alz.org/indiana.

Now is the time to stop Alzheimer’s. The financial, emotional and physical toll is huge and will only get worse. The Advocacy Forum and the Indiana State Plan are steps in the right direction.

Michael Sullivan

Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter