Friday, September 18, 2009

The cost of Alzheimer's

There are all kinds of facts and figures about Alzheimer's. I've posted some of them below, taken from the Alzheimer's Association website.

But the facts and figures don't really tell you the cost. My dad has alzheimer's. He was diagnosed at age 65. Until he was 67, he didn't let us help. He thought he was in control, the "brain thing" was just something he needed a pill for, like his diabetes. He was being scammed by a man named Bubba. We were unable to protect him. Taken for every cent he had, agreeing to thousands of dollars in debt, he was in a financial hell hole when he called us.

"Bubba's gone, I can't do this alone any more, I want to move to Oklahoma" was all he said when he called in the Fall of 2006. We had no idea how bad it was. But we helped, we moved, we put our lives on hold to get him here. He's our dad.

For 3 years, we've managed. We've seen small slips, some larger than others, but manageable with help. Until this summer. We felt he was becoming a danger to himself, he was just not managing any more. So we made the decision to put him in a nursing home. He has taken a huge downward slide. He is no longer really himself.

This week, I was on vacation. Every day, we received a call. Every day, it was worse. He's incontinent, he isn't eating, he has difficulty walking, he threw a pitcher, he hit a nurse, he threatened an aid. I went to see him and he was more occupied with the "children and animals" in his room than he was in interacting with me. I'm not convinced he knew me.

Today, they are admitting him to the psych ward in a hospital to evaluate him. Mentally, physically, medicinally, the whole kit-n-kaboodle. We don't know the steps ahead or the costs. We are observers of this life for which we also feel responsible. With no financial resources, we are also at the mercy of the system our government has in place to care for the elderly and indigent. Such a maze.

I don't know how to anticipate or prepare, so I can't. But I can wait up on the Lord and He will renew my strenghth. I can pray that the peace that passes all understanding will be present. I can trust that many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's plan that prevails. And I will.

We must find a cure for this disease. The devastation is not an isolated, individual thing. It affects everyone touched by it.

The financial costs are well documented, staggering and growing at an astronomical pace.

The emotional costs are without measure.

Here are some of the statistics from the Alzheimer's Association.

• As many as 5.3 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s.

• Alzheimer's and dementia triple healthcare costs for Americans age 65 and older.

• Every 70 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s.

• Alzheimer's is the seventh-leading cause of death.

• The direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer's and other dementias to Medicare, Medicaid and businesses amount to more than $148 billion each year.
These are just a few of the facts in our new report, 2009 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. The report is a comprehensive statistical abstract of U.S. data on Alzheimer’s disease that includes:

• prevalence
• mortality
• the costs of Alzheimer care
• caregiving
• a special report on Mild Cognitive Impairment and early-stage Alzheimer's

As the deer pants for the water so my souls longs for God. He is my strong tower, my safe harbour, my strength and my song. I will rest in Him and wait on Him. I will pray.


1 comment:

barb said...

I will always remember your dad as the big burly guy who cooked a real mean breakfast for us when we 3 traveled down to Texas for the craft show. The gun slinger in the wild west show and the master glass blower. I don't have to see his decline everyday like you and your family do, but I will, as your friend, continue to pray that our Father loving holds your daddy in the palm of His mighty and tender hand, knows his plight and guides him and you through this journey. I love you, friend.