Almost five and one-half million elderly people in America have Alzheimer’s. It is one of the leading causes of death in the country for which there is no prevention and no cure. That figure is expected to triple by 2050. Additionally, there are different types and gradations of dementia, such as early on-set dementia and vascular dementia. Nationwide, Alzheimer’s care centers are springing up which include memory support care services. Developers see the need for care centers, they are consulting the demographic, and they are moving to supply the services.
However, Medicare doesn’t cover long-term nursing home expenses. In-home care is covered for 100 days, following which it will pay 80 percent of the costs. Medicare will pay, though, for Alzheimer’s care in the home, but only if the patient is at the very advanced stages of the disease. What about the millions of dementia sufferers who still have productive years ahead of them? The second they mention the word Alzheimer’s or dementia, they are shunned as if they were lepers. What is being done to help them?
The answer is a lot. A rather unfortunately titled article in The Guardian describes an English movement to restore the humanity to those elderly robbed of their credibility. According to Having Alzheimer’s is An Adventure, Not a Disease, a movement called “dementia friends” is being established. It will educate people regarding the origins of dementia, its sufferers’ needs and how to see dementia in a positive, instead of negative, light. In America, the movement is called Momentia, established in Oregon. Momentia instructs dementia sufferers how to accept this change in their lives and move on.
But it’s more than that. The movement teaches dementia sufferers that this is only a blip on the radar screen. They are still viable human beings with something to offer. The problem is that when an elderly person mentions the word dementia, people retreat with terrible looks on their faces. Most sufferers don’t even mention the word, which accounts for elders’ voluntary retreat from productive living. It is the general public that needs to be educated about Alzheimer’s care and dementia, not just the sufferers.
Awareness of the problem is becoming widespread, and folks are primed to do something about it. Many states have awareness and education programs for the edification of the general public. Even the United Nations has established June 15 as an international elder abuse awareness day, in response to a World Health Organization report that four to six percent of the elderly suffer some form of abuse. Financial abuse is one of the leading abuses of the elderly, and the more so if the elder suffers from dementia. Indeed, if dementia sufferers are still viable members of society, these abuses would be greatly reduced.
When you contact us about Alzheimer’s care for a loved one, rest assured you will be working with caregivers who are well educated in working with dementia patients. They, too, understand the stigma attached to dementia, and work hard to dispel such thoughts.