Since 2003, The Judy Fund has raised over $4.8 million from over 1,600 donors individuals, families and businesses! To make a gift in support of the Alzheimer's Association's Judy Fund, please go to the donation section above.
An exciting year for Alzheimer's disease.
Really crazy, yes? How can a disease that ranks as the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, and the only disease among the top 10 without a means to prevent, cure or even slow its progression, possibly be exciting? What, exactly, is exciting about Alzheimer's? Well, 2012 is already a year of exciting developments in Alzheimer's science and policy. Our nation has established a goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025.
The National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) was signed into law by President Obama, committing our country to developing and implementing the firstever national plan for Alzheimer's disease. And I am excited and hopeful not only for myself but also for the 78 million baby boomers in the U.S. today.
As a baby boomer, I know personally that we cannot wait to act any longer. As our population ages, so does our risk for developing Alzheimer's — in fact, age is the greatest risk factor for developing this horrible disease. An estimated 10 million baby boomers are expected to develop Alzheimer's in our lifetimes. Shockingly, the number of Americans that die each year from this disease has risen 66 percent since 2000.
Baby boomers are at tremendous risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. In just under 40 years, 16 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer's. Between now and then, America will spend more than $20 trillion to care for people with Alzheimer's ; Medicare spending on people with Alzheimer's will increase over 600 percent; and our families' out-of-pocket costs will grow more than 400 percent.
We can change these frightening statistics. The Judy Fund has been proudly supporting Alzheimer's Association initiatives to help alleviate the toll this disease takes on multiple generations — mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, grandparents. With your help, we have raised more than $4.8 million to help fund the Association's care, support, advocacy and research efforts.
The fact is that left unchecked, Alzheimer's will become the disease of our generation. I am convinced we have to take action, get engaged and help achieve the real and attainable goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025.
You are an important part of advancing some of the latest and most exciting efforts to change the trajectory of Alzheimer's. None of us can do this alone. It will take all of us, working together, and now is the time. Every gift you give is working on the ground, helping make a difference and I hope you see that commitment inside this newsletter.
One boomer who is making a huge difference is my friend and fellow board member, Stephen Hume. Steve has been living with Alzheimer's for nearly five years. The disease has forced him into many powerful roles: advocate, educator and compassionate friend. He knows too well the toll of this disease on his own brain and on the hearts of others. Steve, I dedicate this issue of The Judy Fund News to you. Your actions in the face of Alzheimer's have inspired me to take hold of the 2025 goal and charge forward.
Changing the statistics of Alzheimer's is exciting, indeed.
Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns
The Judy Fund