April 21, 2011

USA: "Generation Alzheimer's: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers"

CHICAGO, Illinois / Alzheimer's Association / Generation Alzheimer's Report / April 21, 2011

Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. It is a disease that attacks the brain. It is the most common form of dementia. The disease unfolds in stages, but progression will vary greatly from person to person.

This year, the first wave of baby boomers are turning 65 – and with increased age comes increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to the Chicago-based Alzheimer's Association.

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading, voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care and support, and the largest private, nonprofit funder of Alzheimer research working on a global, national and local level to enhance care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementias. "Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's disease," is the declaration on the Association's banners.

Starting this year, more than 10,000 baby boomers a day will turn 65, estimates the Alzheimer's Association. As these baby boomers age, one of out of eight of them will develop Alzheimer’s – a devastating, costly, heartbreaking disease. Increasingly for these baby boomers, it will no longer be their grandparents and parents who have Alzheimer’s – it will be them.

Many baby boomers will spend their retirement years either with Alzheimer's or caring for someone who has it.

"Alzheimer’s is a tragic epidemic that has no survivors. Not a single one," said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. "It is as much a thief as a killer. Alzheimer’s will darken the long-awaited retirement years of the one out of eight baby boomers who will develop it. Those who will care for these loved ones will witness, day by day, the progressive and relentless realities of this fatal disease. But we can still change that if we act now."

The Association's new report, "Generation Alzheimer's: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers," sheds light on a crisis that is no longer emerging – but here.

The report expects that 10 million baby boomers will either die with or from Alzheimer’s, the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. But, while Alzheimer’s kills, it does so only after taking everything away, slowly stripping an individual’s autonomy and independence.

Even beyond the cruel impact Alzheimer’s has on the individuals with the disease, Generation Alzheimer’s also details the negative cascading effects the disease places on millions of caregivers. Caregivers and families go through the agony of losing a loved one twice: first to the ravaging effects of the disease and then, ultimately, to actual death.

The full text of the Alzheimer’s Association’s "Generation Alzheimer’s" report can be viewed at www.alz.org/boomers.

Seniors World Chronicle report based on material of the Alzheimer's Association.

Copyright © 2011 Alzheimer's Association®