September is World Alzheimer’s Month. By the time you read this article, several local “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” fundraising events will have taken place.
Don’t panic if you did not have a chance to walk or make a donation. The fundraising for ending Alzheimer’s really never ends.
There is a continued need by the Alzheimer’s Association for money to help with both research and the provision of care and support to those with dementia. And if you make a donation by the end of this month, it will be matched, providing that the association reaches its goal of $100,000.
Another important factoid regarding the Alzheimer’s Association is the allocation of the funds that are raised. Seventy-six percent of the total annual expenses for the association goes directly towards care, support, research, awareness and advocacy activities.
Only 6 percent actually goes to administrative oversight; the remaining 18 percent toward fundraising efforts. The best way to donate now is online. Go to www.alz.org for more information on donating and the overall work that is performed by this nonprofit organization.
And now the rest of the story …
According to alz.org, every 68 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is considered to be the next “disease of the century.” Estimates are that by 2050 Alzheimer’s is expected to affect 16 million people in the United States alone.
Also, Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. One in three seniors in the U.S. die with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Did you know that Alzheimer’s will cost our nation $203 billion this year alone?
What about caregiving for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related diseases? If you really want to know how hard it is, talk to any family member who has provided direct care for a loved one with this disease.
It is estimated that in 2012, 15.4 million family members and friends provided 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The emotional and physical toll on caregivers is a separate health issue, too. A third of caregivers report symptoms of depression.
Of the 10 leading causes of death in America, Alzheimer’s is the only disease that has no apparent prevention, no cure and no way of slowing its progression. At this point, treatment only addresses the symptoms, not the cause. Deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 68 percent between 2000 and 2010. All of the other leading causes of death have declined during this same period of time.
If these statistics alone don’t move you to want to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association, then do it for your neighbor’s mother or your best friend’s dad.
Do it for the dentist who took care of you when you were just a kid. Do it for your first-grade teacher who taught you how to read and write.
Do it for the engineer who developed the technology we use today to fly across the world. Do it for the soldier who fought for your freedom.
Donation of your time also is important. There are many family members that would love and hour or so break from the daily worries of caregiving.
Memory Care Communities need volunteers to organize sing-alongs and lead devotions. You don’t have to be an expert in dementia to lend a helping hand.
If we are going to beat this disease, we are going to have to do it together. Join us in the fight.
DeLong is the executive director of The Suites at Station Exchange. Email him at Suites.StationExchange@gmail.com.