Sept. 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day. More than 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. It remains the sixth leading killer in adults, and the only one of the top 10 with no diagnostic test, no effective treatment and no cure. More than 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day through 2019, adding to the senior population that 1 in 10 will develop Alzheimer’s. That is 10 percent of the senior population that will stress our health care system, family financial positions and Medicare/Medicaid costs. While research is being done, results are not fast enough to impact those affected now and in the next several years. We can hope that the national goal of an intervention is reached by 2025.
There is help for those affected and their caregivers. In Baton Rouge, Alzheimer’s Services provides education and support programs, including respite care at two Charlie’s Place Activity and Respite Centers (Baton Rouge and Gonzales) as well as respite assistance for caregivers to hire a sitter. There is life and purpose after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. A social worker and program coordinators are available to help families navigate the resources in the community and cope with the challenges that eventually come with the disease. Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area is a local nonprofit supported by private, corporate and foundation giving and uses those funds to serve the 10-parish surrounding area. We are most grateful to the community for their support and inspiring us to deliver on our mission to teach, care for and connect with those affected and their caregivers. On World Alzheimer’s Day, we say thank you.
Barbara W. Auten
executive director, Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area