Monday, November 9 was Proclamation Day in Lincoln NE. It was an honor to be invited to the event. Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed November 2015 as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, National Family Caregiver Month, and National Respite Awareness Month.
The event started with a “Celebrating the Family” luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion. The speakers were Dr. Anna Fisher, Hillcrest Health Services and Dr. Stephen Bonasera, University of Nebraska Medical Center. This was my second time meeting Dr. Fisher. She is a fantastic speaker, her enthusiasm is contagious. I came away with a new appreciation for caregivers! Dr. Bonasera echoed what Dr. Fisher said, as a society and a nation, we would be in trouble if it were not for the caregivers, whether family, respite or hospice. They are definitely some of our nations unsung heroes.
Proclamation Signing. After the luncheon, we went across to the capital where Governor Ricketts signed the individual proclamations. Pictured below is Governor Ricketts, Dr. Viv Ewing, the Executive Director of the Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association and myself.
After the proclamation signing, we went outside to the Ribbon Tying Ceremony on the Care Tree that is on the Capitol lawn pictured below. Each color of ribbon represents one of the organizations, purple being the one for the Alzheimer’s Association.
It was a good day, beautiful weather for Nebraska in November. Thank you to the Alzheimer’s Association for including me in the event.
Ronald Regan designated November as Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983, some of the numbers about Alzheimer’s are surprising and scary. Along with that, I included some facts about caregivers.
- In 1983, fewer than 2 million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
- Over 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease today, and it is thought that this estimate could be very low because many are undiagnosed.
- Over 700,000 Americans 65 and older will die in 2015 from Alzheimer’s.
- It is estimated, without a medical breakthrough, the number of American’s with Alzheimer’s disease will rise to over 13 million by 2050.
- Two thirds of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are women.
- Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
- In 2015, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation 226 billion dollars.
- By 2050, Alzheimer’s and other dementias could cost the nation 1.1 trillion dollars if no medical advances are made.
- Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death of the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed.
- Only 200,000 Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are under 65 at the time of diagnosis (younger-onset).
- There are more than 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers. The toll it takes on these friends and family members is tremendous.
- It is estimated that 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care is administered by these caregivers at an estimated value to the nation of 217 billion dollars.
- Over half of these caregivers are children caring for parents.
These are just some of the numbers. This information is all from the Alzheimer’s Association 2015 fact sheet.