So today the Alzheimer’s Association released its 2016 report on the disease, and the news doesn’t look good. As reported by CNN and Forbes, we can expect that by 2015, the number of Americans 65 and up with Alzheimer’s will reach 7.1 million; that is an increase of nearly 40 percent from 5.2 million who had it in 2016. Jump forward to 2050, and the view is even bleaker: Probably 13.8 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s, nearly triple the rate of today.
Why the soaring rise? Americans are living into their 80s and beyond, and the older you get, the greater your risk of contracting Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
There is no cure for the disease. No treatment. No early intervention. Gulp.
What we have on our hands is a crisis, and now is the time to spearhead a campaign to ward off the catastrophe—on both the research and caregiving fronts. Otherwise, the costs of care may break our safety nets – Medicare and Medicaid.
As Forbes notes, Americans are “shouldering an increasingly heavy burden of costs due to the rising numbers of people with Alzheimer’s disease.” The estimated total cost to families and taxpayers for the care of those with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia totaled more than a quarter trillion dollars last year — $259 billion — according to the 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released Tuesday by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Admittedly, our government is now in full-on crisis mode with the Trump Administration’s chaotic governing style, its war with the press and the intelligence community, and its antagonistic relationship with the majority of Americans and with countries abroad. In all the tumult, I doubt that President Trump is giving much thought to battling Alzheimer’s disease on a national scale, but I wish that he would. Trump’s own father suffered from dementia, and so this cause should be close to his heart.
Heck, he may be next in line to develop this disease.
Time to call in Trump’s personal physician, Dr. Bornstein, who famously reported during the election cycle that “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” More recently, when questioned about Trump’s health by the New York Times, Bornstein snapped that Trump’s health “is none of your business.”
Hello? Nothing could be more germane at the moment.
An Alzheimer’s crisis is bearing down on us like a tsunami, and this is something the president needs to take seriously. Forget tweeting about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings or the imagined size of his inaugural crowd.