Alzheimer’s Higher Death Toll, Buddy Programs and Guide Dogs

According to a study recently published in the journal Neurology, the number of Americans who die as a result of Alzheimer’s disease has been vastly underestimated for years. New research indicates that since Alzheimer’s is an underlying disease – which leads to complications resulting in death – the number of deaths that may be attributable to Alzheimer’s has been under-reported by as much as half a million people per year. This is six times higher than previously reported, and moves Alzheimer’s up as the number three killer each year, behind heart disease and cancer.

While Alzheimer’s starts out affecting memory and cognitive thought processes, over time it creates breathing, swallowing, and heart rate issues that lead to other diagnoses. Since the subsequent diseases are actually what causes death, Alzheimer’s isn’t listed as a cause of death.

[CLICK HERE to read article, “Alzheimer’s Deaths Vastly Under Reported, Study Says,” at Newsweek, March 5, 2014.]

Alzheimer’s researchers are toiling away to learn how to slow, halt or prevent this disease. Most recently, strides have been made in identifying contributing genetic factors, enabling the ability to study the disease in depth using skin cells from affected patients, and in pairing young med students with Alzheimer patients – to the advantage of both.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Alzheimer’s in a dish,” at the Harvard Gazette, March 4, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Newly Identified Gene Triples Alzheimer’s Risk,” at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, Nov. 2012.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Buddy programs pair medical students with Alzheimer’s patients,” at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, March 12, 2014.]

While it may currently rank third in cause of death, Alzheimer’s ranks first in healthcare spending in the U.S. In light of America’s (and the world’s) vast graying population, that expense is expected to soar in the future.

Such is the heightened awareness that everyone from celebrities to Congress is trying to advance the cause. At a recent hearing in Congress, experts for the disease, and even comedic actor Seth Rogen, gave testimony reinforcing the urgency that Alzheimer’s is no laughing matter.

[CLICK HERE to view the article/video, “In More Ways than One, the Costliest Disease,” at AARP, Feb. 27, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to view the congressional hearing on Alzheimer’s Disease Research at C-SPAN, Feb. 26, 2014.]

While a cure is not currently in sight, if you or someone you know suffers from this progressive disease, be aware of new insights into how to help patients enjoy a potentially greater quality of life – including the use of conversation techniques and trained pets.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Three Ways to Talk to People Living with Alzheimer’s,” at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, July 29, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Assistance Dogs for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients,” at Psychology Today, Jan. 21, 2014.]

Alzheimer’s can take its toll on families not only with stress and caregiving needs, but also on finances. Please give us a call if we can help you create a financial strategy for future cognitive care needs.

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