-Dr.Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC
This morning I read yet another article talking about how next year most of the oldest baby boomers are turning 65. Some of the experts are going as far to say that it will bring about a “silver tsunami.” That’s a new term to add to my dictionary.
Daily we read facts and statistics that claim there are currently 5.1 million Americans with Alzheimer’s. This number will continue to increase annually as people live longer due to advances in science and medicine. Here are a few hard-hitting statistics from the 2010
Alzheimer’s Association report that put these numbers in perspective:
• 1 in 8 people aged 65 and older (13%) have Alzheimer’s disease
• Every 70 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. By mid-century, someone will develop the disease every 33 seconds
Most of us are aware, that as we age, the risk of having Alzheimer’s increases as well. Here is some helpful advice to fight Alzheimer’s and its effects on family from Diane Walker, Vice President of Griswold Special Care and Editor for The Caring Times:
Don’t Hide/Ignore the Truth
We all have a tendency to avoid difficult situations, and I feel such tremendous empathy for adult children who want to respect their parents’ independence. And today, kids often don’t live near their parents and therefore see them rather infrequently.
[Adults today] have a tendency to kind of hide some of the changes that occur as we age, and this only occurs more frequently as we get older. I remember my parents, my mother would never tell us if she had a physical problem and if my father was worried about something, he would never acknowledge it. I had never even looked inside my father’s checkbook until he became ill.
Things that have potential to be a reality check or maybe raise difficult feelings of fear and anxiety, we tend to avoid those discussions … but the most important thing for people to understand is that we are going to age and eventually we are going to have health problems — and if [we are prone to suffer from dementia] it is particularly important to plan.
Make Decisions Now About Who Should/Will Be Your Caregivers
Older adults should recognize the fact that part of aging is to acquire some physical limitations, and to plan for how you will manage those limitations is critical. And having a discussion with your children about what your wishes are and how to financially make those wishes come true is a must.
It is important to have the discussion [and to recognize ahead of time that studies show] spouses and children who care for individuals who have dementia are at significantly higher health risks than other normal adults who don’t have those responsibilities. It is particularly true for spouses, who are also more prone to developing dementia later in life.