As a current healthcare provider, the 2019 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures Report does not surprise me because of the large population of dementia patients seen within the health system. However, as a previous caregiver for my late grandmother, who passed away February 2018, my heart goes out to current caregivers who are fighting every day for better care for their loves ones and who are trying to carry the cost of Alzheimer's while using limited resources. It saddens me to know that some are left out of care because of the lack of support, lack of funding for palliative patient care or for loved ones' respite care, and lack of proper cognitive assessments from primary care providers (PCP).
According to the Facts and Figures Report, it critically reveals the statistics from the most recent studies of the disease. Some of those statistics include the following: Alzheimer's is now ranked as the 6th leading cause of death in our nation; Even though one and three seniors dies from Alzheimer's or other dementias, only 16% of seniors are screened using cognitive assessment during their annual or routine health checkups; Every 65 seconds an American develops the disease; Older African-Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer's or other dementias as older whites; Additionally, projected values from state to state show dramatic percentage increases of people living with the disease. In the state of Georgia, it is projected that there will be a 26.7% increase in the incidence of Alzheimer's disease. This means that right now we have estimated 150,000 in 2019 and that will increase to 190,000 people living with the disease by 2025. As a nurse, caregiver, and nursing supervisor of a home care agency, it is shocking to see the possible dramatic increase.
This is just a sample of some of the data collected and reported in the 2019 Alzheimer's Facts and Figures report. We have to figure out prevention methods, educate PCP for screening, improve outcomes, enhance quality of life, and get the necessary help for caregivers. There is a lot that needs to be done. Imagine the progressive attitude we all must have to improve the situation. We have to do better. We have to find the cure.
I would like for my Congressman, John Lewis to re-join the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease. We want his continued support on this important bipartisan issue. I appreciate his past support on Alzheimer's priorities in the past and hope that these new facts that show the tragic trajectory of the disease will further encourage his continued support of our priorities. Join me in asking Congressman Lewis to bring Alzheimer's to the forefront in Congress. It's important to all in our district who are impacted by this disease! For more information and facts, visit www.alz.org/facts
Ms. Lauren R. Cummings (NurseElleRose)
Professional Registered Nurse
Alzheimer's Association, Georgia Chapter