The Most Expensive Disease in the Nation

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The Reason to Hope event was held in the Chicago area last week. Representing the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and the more than 15 million caregivers it takes to care for them, my husband, Marshall Brodien, and I were honored with the Courage Award. We are grateful to the Illinois Alzheimer’s Association for the recognition and their tireless efforts to assist those of us suffering from symptoms and caring for our loved ones.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research as well as our go-to source of credible information. They’ve invested over 375 million dollars into active research projects around the globe.

This association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, are responsible for prompting Congress to recently pass a $400 million dollar increase in Alzheimer’s research. This tremendous increase is definitely helpful, however, NIH scientists say we need 2 billion dollars annually to defeat the disease.

Alzheimer’s is the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, slowed or cured. It is the most expensive disease in our country due to the level of care and security required, the number of years most live with it, and the rapidly growing numbers of people with the disease. Leading independent researchers project the cost of care in the U.S. for this year alone to be $259 billion.

Funding is not keeping pace with the need. And, as I often tell my audiences when speaking on this subject, this is not someone else’s disease. If you do not have it or are developing it, you’re likely to be required to assist someone who is. If nothing else, we all will pay for it with exorbitant taxes. Few families can afford the bill. When their funds run dry, the remainder becomes our responsibility as taxpayers.

Visit the Alzheimer’s Association website for more information. And while there, please consider making a donation. The research funded from your donations won’t help my Marshall. It’s too late for him—too late to restore his fondest memories of the past or his ability to make new ones. And it’s too late to replace the last decade and a half of heartache and stress for me as his wife and caregiver. But every dollar brings us closer to a cure and a relief for every one of us.

(Navigating Alzheimer’s. 12 Truths About Caring for Your Loved One is available from Amazon.com, ACTA Publications, and my website.)

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