As if worrying about getting old and fretting about who is going to take care of us isn’t enough, a new report by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI ) gives baby boomers another cause for alarm: the fear of dementia.
In what is being called a “global epidemic” the number of people who will have dementia is expected to hit 76 million by 2030 and 135 million by 2015, a 17% increase over what was projected earlier. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans 65 and older currently live with dementia and 200,000 under 65 have early onset dementia.
What is just as unsettling is the cost of dementia: this year alone, the disease will cost the nation $203 billion which is expected to rise to $1.2 trillion by 2050. Of this amount, $142 billion is absorbed by Medicaid and Medicare. On top of this staggering amount is the fact that 15.4 million caregivers provided more than 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $216 billion.
“Unfortunately, many of these unpaid caregivers report their own emotional stress as extremely high, further exacerbating the costs,” said Jeff Bevis, CEO of FirstLight Home Care. “You have to add on an additional $9.1 billion in healthcare costs for these unpaid dementia caregivers as well, because dementia can take a toll on their psychological and physical health.”
Unfortunately, even though Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, there is no known cure for true dementia. Dementia actually refers to a series of diseases which result in a loss of memory, thinking and reasoning that inhibits a person’s day-to-day functioning. Although many people may not die directly from the disease itself, they will die with it.
FirstLight Home Care Poised to Help
First Light HomeCare is one of the nation’s leading providers of non-medical care for seniors and those with disabilities, helping thousands of people to remain comfortably in their home as they battle this baffling disease. FirstLight has developed a unique dementia care program, which is designed to provide specialized care for not only the individual who has the disease, but the whole family as well.
“What makes our dementia care program so unique is our initial and ongoing training to put the dementia care client at ease. With the right training, preparation and focused sensitivity to understanding the true needs of someone with early dementia, approach brings stability and support to both the dementia care sufferer and their family.”
People with dementia prefer in home care, where they are surrounded by some sense of familiarity. Depending on the stage of the illness, some clients with early stage Alzheimer’s often even benefit from part-time care, customized to meet their needs and individual schedule.
Coping With the Illness
The FirstLight Home Care unique focus on dementia care revolves around extensive training and experience to engage dementia patients, so both their mind and their body remain active. Initially those with dementia may appear confused or forgetful, but these behaviors can turn into aggression, severe sleep issues, suspicion and even abuse. This can also be very hard for family members to cope with and understand.
“We started FirstLight Home Care knowing that the population is aging and there needs to be home care to meet these growing demands,” said Bevis. “Our emphasis on home care, and specialization to provide the very best in dementia care, positions us to handle the epidemic that many Americans may soon be facing.”
For more information about FirstLight Home Care services or employment, contact us toll-free at 877 570-0002 or on the web at www.firstlighthomecare.com.