Alzheimer's Cases to Increase - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Alzheimer's Cases to Increase

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Amy Lee takes care of her father Benny who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease about 3 and a half years ago.

"When he was first diagnosed he would say, 'oh, what's happening to me? I don't remember anything' or 'something's wrong.' But now he's past that phase because his language skills are no longer as strong.

More and more Americans are finding themselves in Amy's position.

"There's a lot of frustration, it's overwhelming."

A new study predicts the number of seniors with the memory-robbing disease is going to skyrocket from about five million today to about 13.8 million in 2050.

"The Baby Boom generation is entering the retirement years and as they age we know the numbers of those with Alzheimer's will increase dramatically," says Robert Egge, vice president of Public Policy at the Alzheimer's Association.

As many as 15 million Americans currently care for loved ones with Alzheimer's. As the number of patients goes up, so too will the burden on families and society.

Researchers don't know what causes Alzheimer's and there's no cure.

"Right now as a country we are not prepared to deal with this crisis."

Amy's dad will turn 90 this summer. She knows his mental faculties will only continue to decline.

"I think there's a point where he's not going to be able to live at home anymore. So that's going to be a big, sad step."

Her goal is to make sure he has as much dignity as possible as he enters the last stage of his life.

Caring for those with Alzheimer's disease costs about $200 billion a year, mostly through Medicaid and Medicare programs. Experts say that number could increase to as much as $1 trillion by 2050 if nothing is done.

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