What do the numbers 5, 6 and 35 have in common? The answer may surprise you:
- More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the US
- It is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death in the top 10 without a way to prevent, cure or even slow down its progress
- 35 million people living worldwide with dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just affect the individual with the diagnosis. It ripples through their family and each one of those people impacted in turn sends their own set of ripples.
This happens every day around the globe, in millions of households. Individuals that are not only living their lives but intricately involved in helping someone with Alzheimer’s disease to navigate theirs. It’s time consuming and stressful, and the financial impact can be devastating. A recent study by The Working Mother Research Institute, in which the Alzheimer’s Association participated as a knowledge partner, highlights what the nation’s caregivers are facing:
- While 25% of caregivers are providing 10 or fewer hours of care per week, another 30% are providing more than 100 hours per week
- Caregivers are adjusting work schedules (including giving up promotions) and sometimes leaving the workforce entirely to provide care
- 65% of caregivers surveyed haven’t had a vacation in more than a year
No one wants to receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but over one half of caregivers surveyed wished that their loved one had been diagnosed earlier, so that the individual to be more involved in decision making about financial matters, living arrangements and making better plans for long term care.
Planning for the future, including variables such as a health crisis, change in finances or living situation is always wise. It allows for thoughtful consideration of the full range of options that might be available and a conscious choice rather than a hurried decision made in the throes of a crisis. Advance consideration also allows for conversations with those who would be involved/impacted, not just the person involved in the planning, but also a spouse, children and extended family. If you are counting on their help, do they know that? Share your expectations and ask for theirs as well. Lastly, consider speaking with a professional, an advisor or financial planning professional to help you navigate the myriad of options that could and should be considered.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month. Around the globe individuals, corporations and organizations are providing information and education to raise awareness and concern about the disease and the importance of early detection. You too can join this effort by helping to raise awareness and preparing for the future by learning more about the disease and resources or talking with your advisor and family about your wishes.