In the next few decades, the number of persons over the age of 65 with Alzheimer’s disease is set to nearly triple from an estimated 5.2 people today to 13.8 million in 2050. It is an expensive disease–total payments for health and long-term care for all individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in 2016 are estimated to be $236 billion, of which $46 billion will be out of pocket. These numbers will continue to challenge our country’s resources, health and long-term care systems, and families for years to come. However, as researchers search for a cure, we must also meet the challenge of living well with Alzheimer’s—and we must start by listening to the voices of those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
As September is World Alzheimer’s month, we took some time to speak with Myriam Marquez. Myriam is an advocate who lives with dementia, and currently serves on the Advisory Council for the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. Myriam was quoted in a paper for the Dementia Action Alliance, saying, “Those of us living with dementia are alive. We can feel, we can laugh, we can cry no matter what stage we are in. There are so many things we can continue to do during the course of the condition.” As Myriam notes, people can live well with Alzheimer’s, and it is important to engage persons living with dementia in developing the care support systems that will make this possible. (more…)