Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that destroys a person’s mental functions and memory. Its symptoms often go unnoticed and may begin with mild confusion and difficulty remember simple things. As the disease progresses, so does the memories of many of the important people and events in a person’s life. The mind becomes an erasable chalkboard. As the disease further progresses, symptoms include problems with verbal skills, progressive disorientation, periodic mood swings, loss of self-direction, lack of self-care management, and changes in individual personality. The disease encompasses entire families as their loved ones no longer recognize who they are and the illness slowly takes its toll on both the mind and body. Having been a registered nurse for more than a dozen years, I have comforted those families who have experienced the emotional and financial burden Alzheimer’s disease can take. It is a devastating disease that presently has no known cure, and one which gravely concerns the medical community. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, currently 5.2 million of Americans are affected with Alzheimer’s that doubling to 10.4 million in less than two decades. The costs of Alzheimer’s care are predicted to be in the trillion of dollars, perhaps making it to be the most expensive disease of the future.
Now is the time that the medical community as well as government and stage agencies begin to seriously focus on this debilitating disease. These needs to be extensive research as well as wide-ranging funding to both address the casual factors of Alzheimer’s disease as well as the methods to equally slow down the progression as well as find a cure. According the U.S. Census bureau, less than 5 years ago, the population of those over 60 (a targeted profile group experiencing Alzheimer’s) was just under twenty-percent. It is anticipated in just short of thirty years one-third of the population will be over 60 years old. The increase in Alzheimer’s research and funding has to begin now. We must recognize this disease that has the potential to eventually effect each one of us. But most of all, we cannot forget our aged, as so many of them has through this horrific disease forgotten us.