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The Forgotten: The Growing Alzheimer’s Epidemic in America

I’ll never forget the moment I realized my grandfather had no idea who I was. It was at his son’s funeral. As I leaned over to give him a hug, he pushed me away, not knowing I was his own granddaughter, or the reason he was there. Looking back, I should have known that was going to happen, since his Alzheimer’s had progressed drastically since the last time I saw him.

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have a way of stopping us dead in our tracks. They take our breath away with shock and sadness, as we realize the family member we loved dearly has been lost and is no longer there.

A 2017 PBS documentary highlighting the Alzheimer’s epidemic shines a light on decisions families are making every day. “Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts” gives us an inside look at what families are dealing with.

Many of us in the field of senior living see the heartbreak when a son or daughter has to “move mom.” Often they say it’s the best decision, and many wish they’d made it sooner.

Situations like these will become more common as the number of people diagnosed with the disease is projected to rise. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 71 million Americans 65 years and older will have the disease within the next 8 years.

Senior living communities around the country are preparing for this by adding memory care to their services, but will this be enough? According to the PBS documentary, Alzheimer’s could completely bankrupt the Medicaid and Medicare systems. If this happens, many families will face insurmountable financial pressures in addition to the emotional burden of caring for loved ones throughout the progression of the disease.

Whether it’s marketing, paid media or public relations, GlynnDevins is able to help its clients reach this growing audience, and tell stories of the importance of memory care within a community. Experts show how to alleviate the burden on families. Communities unveil new ways to postpone the aggressive disease through music therapy and other treatments. Stories like these are being told by GlynnDevins’ teams.

In my family’s story, one of our favorite memories of my grandfather happened several years ago. He could no longer speak or understand what was going on around him. However, when his favorite mariachi band started playing on the radio, he got up and danced with my grandmother. That’s something we’ll never forget.

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