I’ve written about this before, but it is worth beating the drum again. Dementia care is expensive. If we think the past few years in the U.S. were bad with the housing crisis and the rising unemployment rate, just wait until dementia meets the baby boomers in a terrible perfect storm.
What this most recent study reveals is something that family caregivers of dementia sufferers have known for quite awhile. It’s not medical care that most dementia patients need, but the necessity of institutional or professional home care that drives up costs astronomically. The per-person cost was estimated to be between $40,000-$60,000 per year. My father only required a year of institutional care, but my aunt that recently passed away who had Alzheimer’s spent the last several years of her life in a facility. You do the math, it’s depressing. The average family will go bankrupt very quickly if something is not done to remedy this situation.
As I’ve said before, I don’t know what the answers are. If there were more support, financially and otherwise for family caregivers, some families would choose to keep their loved ones with dementia at home for longer. I’m not a fan of more taxes or government programs, but it does seem as a government and as a society we are letting down the elderly generation. We pay property taxes so children can get a free public education. Fine. But what happens after you grow up, you work all of your life, pay taxes while saving up as much as you can, and then your mind gets sick? You lose everything and it becomes a family problem.
Really though, Alzheimer’s is a world dilemma. Whether or not it touches everyone’s family directly, this disease has a lasting impact on society.