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Combatting Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia and its Many Challenges

By: Andrew Yakubovich

Living and coping with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be extremely stressful, both mentally and physically; the hardships that arise are detrimental to the body and psyche.  Although rarely discussed, Alzheimer’s and dementia are often also associated with financial hardship for both the patients and their families.

Reduce Your Risk

Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia, is a progressive disease that currently affects 6.2 million Americans, but this number is expected to grow to 12.7 million by 2050.[1] It is thought to begin more than 20 years before symptoms arise, so it is very difficult to stop the progression of the disease, but studies show that frequent exercise, refraining from smoking and alcohol, exercising your brain, and eating a healthy diet may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.[2] Good ways to exercise your brain include reading, doing crossword puzzles, and playing strategic games. As for a healthy diet, eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, chicken, nuts, and legumes while limiting saturated fat, read meat, and sugar.

Watch Out for Key Signs

Common signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s include difficulty remembering recent conversations, names or events, challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks, misplacing things, losing the ability to retrace steps, and overall confusion.These symptoms can be very stressful and can greatly impact quality of life.[3]

Be Wary of Financial Stress

More than 1 in 9 people aged 65 and older has Alzheimer’s dementia, and the financial effects are astronomical. Family members and friends provided nearly $257 billion in unpaid care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in 2020.[4] In addition, in 2021, the total national cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to reach $355 billion in paid care, truly exhibiting the widespread struggle of American seniors and their families in dealing with this illness.[5] On average, Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s or other dementias paid $11,571 out of pocket annually for health care and care services.[6] These expenses can be extremely challenging to deal with, as financial hardship resulting from disease can put even more strain on people already dealing with the complications of the illness itself.

Below are resources that help with financial hardship that comes along with Alzheimer’s and other  advanced-stage illnesses.


Financial Resources

EAC Network: EAC Network is a not-for-profit social service agency that empowers, assists, and cares for over 43,220 people in need through 100 programs across Long Island and New York City.

Phone #: (516) 539-0150

Willing Hearts Helpful Hands: Willing Hearts Helpful Hands is an innovative community program serving family caregivers in Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties by connecting them with a circle of help that includes trained volunteers who provide an array of respite services.

Phone #: (516) 586-1507

Hilarity for Charity: Hilarity for Charity is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to care for families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, inspire the next generation of Alzheimer’s advocates, and be leaders in brain health research and education.

Link: Hilarity for Charity

Fifth Season Financial: The Funds for Living Program helps alleviate financial stressors by giving patients access to part of their life insurance benefit while still leaving funds for their loved ones. The program works like a loan, with one’s life insurance policy serving as the only collateral that repays the loan. For more information, speak to a program coordinator by submitting the form on www.fifthseasonfinancial.com.

Call us today to find out more: Toll-free (866) 459-1271


Sources:

[1] https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf, pg. 18-19.

[2] https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf, pg. 13-16.

[3] https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf, pg. 10.

[4] https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf, pg. 35.

[5] https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf, pg. 51.

[6] https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf, pg. 52.

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