Study: Alzheimer’s Could Cost State $10 Billion In 20 Years

By Holly Wagner, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A rally is happening Thursday at the Minnesota State Capitol over the effect Alzheimer’s disease could have on the state’s future budget. Activists say if the state doesn’t prepare for this, costs from Alzheimer’s could reach $10 billion in 20 years.

A report was given to the legislature on the potential financial burden the disease could put on the state. The findings stem from action the legislature took in 2009 when they developed a group to study Alzheimer’s disease and to find out what the impact could be on the state financially and socially as the baby boomer population ages.

The cost of it all is why supporters called for lawmakers to work together coming up with solutions to handle what they believe could be an Alzheimer’s crisis.

Experts who worked on the study say the state needs to start focusing on early detection and public awareness. Everyone at the capitol was wearing purple in support of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Charles Denny, whose wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1994, was part of the focus group.

“I abandoned all profession and social relations to provide her with the intensive care 24 hours a day that is required by this disease. This time, the past 20 years has been taken from our lives and it is a journey that is not yet over,” said Denny.

Members of the group and Alzheimer’s association said the state needs a better health care model to take care of people with Alzheimer’s.

They believe by having more state programs working together on early detection and public awareness it will help alleviate a potential crisis.

This is not a proposed bill, just recommendations on how to move forward.

WCCO-TV’s Holly Wagner Reports

More from Holly Wagner

    With regard to the Alzheimer’s crisis……………….WHAT GOOD IS EARLY DETECTION GOING TO DO IF WE DON’T HAVE A CURE. Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is a large part, is effecting a huge number of elderly right now and it is only going to get much worse as time goes on and the population ages. It is a frightful, demeaning, painful, degrading way to die. And, tearing our loved ones from their homes and putting them in nursing homes where the care is poor to say the least is not the answer. We need to FIND A BETTER WAY TO CARE FOR THOSE SUFFERING NOW and PUT THE MONEY INTO FINDING A CURE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Most Dementia patients don’t actually die from the disease (as in their brains being destroyed) but from the results of:
    * falling – because they are so drugged up and aren’t watched all the time
    * dehydration or starving – because they can no longer feed themselves and no one will spend the time it takes to feed them and give them liquids
    * infection such as pneumonia – because when they can no longer walk and move around on their own they are left in bed most or all of the time or incur bladder infections because they are no longer able to go to the bathroom by themselves and are not properly cleaned up when their diapers are changed (yes, I said diapers) or are left sitting/lying in the dirty ones too long; just to mention a few of the causes of death for such a patient.

    This is a hideous way to end your life or watch someone you love, above all else, end their life. We don’t put our beloved animals through such an ordeal so let us put an end to this cruel last phase of life for those with this disease and GIVE GOOD CARE TO THOSE WHO NEED IT NOW BY MAKING NURSING HOMES ACCOUNTABLE OR AS SUGGESTED WITH A “BETTER HEALTH CARE MODEL” AND FIND A CURE, FIND A CURE, FIND A CURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I know what I am talking about as I have watched this happen with someone I love; don’t let it happen to you or someone you love!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Mike Donohue

      The previous comment misses the mark when it comes to dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).Although I agree with much of what the writer speaks I see another alternative to take when dealing with this awful disease. I know, I have it and will one day be the person treated as the writer predicts.

      Because I can still function and can write about it, I am committed to seeing change in how we deal with AD. I want to see better and less costly care, I want to see more programs to help us stay out of Nursing Homes.

      I was one of the speakers at the Rally reported in the news clip on the Rally, I was a member of the committee to investigate the needs of AD and recommend action by legislation.

      This is a positive step and will go a long way to help those with AD and those soon to get it, many will they be. It attacks the confiscatory costs of caring for us, The rapacious cost escalation that will break us as families, as communities, as a country.

      We cannot sit back and wait for a cure. We need to act now to find Economy in Care. Mike Donohue


        Mike, first of all let me say that I am so sorry you are personally battling this disease.

        I don’t think I missed the mark at all as I too very strongly believe that we need better care per my quote above “FIND A BETTER WAY TO CARE FOR THOSE SUFFERING NOW” and LESS COSTLY CARE WOULD OF COURSE BE PART OF THAT “BETTER WAY”. As you suggested, programs to stay out of nursing homes is definitely what is needed. And, I am not in any way suggesting we sit back and wait for a cure…………we need to work as aggressively as possible to that end of finding a cure soon, as well as, do all we can for those afflicted now by doing the very things you have mentioned. Once a cure is found, the cost of care would no longer be an issue.

        Again, I think what you are doing is most certainly a positive step to help those afflicted now and in the future – how can I become a part of what the committee connected to this rally is doing?

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