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Thread: Alzheimer's May Bankrupt Medicare

  1. #1
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Alzheimer's May Bankrupt Medicare

    *Snip*

    Experts point out that without additional funding and a breakthrough, Alzheimer's could be the disease that breaks the nation's health care bank. In 2017, for the first time, total costs for caring for those living with Alzheimer's and other dementias hit $259 billion -- over a quarter of a trillion dollars.

    "Already, Alzheimer's consumes one in every five Medicare/Medicaid dollars," Tanzi said. "With 71 million baby boomers headed toward risk age, this will go to one in three, perhaps in the next decade, at which point Alzheimer's will single-handedly collapse Medicare/Medicaid."

    "It will also impact the work force and our economy," Drew added. "Because every family affected will be making caregiving choices they will have at home. They will be absent more for doctor visits ... and other caregiving duties."

    There's more. The association's report adds another startling statistic, the hidden cost of caregiving: In 2016, those who took care of loved ones with dementia provided an "estimated 18.2 billion hours of unpaid assistance, a contribution to the nation valued at $230.1 billion."

    And that's just the monetary impact of caregiving. Experts say no one can put a number on the emotional and health impact of caring for a loved one with dementia.

    "Alzheimer's is like a leaky boat in a hurricane," said Huntington Potter, director of the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer's Disease Center. "We have to both bail like mad and fix the leaks. Researchers are working hard to fix the leaks, but it will take time; for now, the main load is carried by the bailing caregivers. They are on the front lines in this war against Alzheimer's."

    Kristen Beatty is one of those fighting on the front lines. She and her brother, Doug Rider, are caring for their 78-year-old father, Ray, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 10 years ago.

    "My father was a lifer in the Air Force, a colonel, a fighter pilot and a Vietnam veteran," Beatty said. "My mom, Sue, was a proper military wife, and between them, they had a 'don't ask, don't tell' attitude about informing us kids about his illness."

    It wasn't until they took over their dad's care that they learned just what their mother had been going through.

    "He developed a sense of paranoia and thought people were stealing from him and believed everyone was out to get him," Beatty said. "He would go to bed early but then get up and was up all night long, arguing with mom.

    "They would have conversations and arguments over and over again. She wasn't getting any sleep. She was exhausted with the constant care and pressure. But she never once complained. She didn't want us to be scared."

    But in 2012, after five years of caregiving, Sue Rider dropped dead of a heart attack.

    "We say that she died of a broken heart," Beatty said. "Died from the stress of caring for him. She was eating super healthy, walking every day, taking very good care of herself. So I truly believe it was the stress.

    "It's awful, just awful," she said with a catch in her voice. "My brother and I feel so guilty, because we could have supported her, but she would not ask for help; she would not consider moving him into a facility; she would not go to support groups."

    Today, Beatty works with the Alzheimer's Association to call attention to the burden of caregiving. She points people to the resources available to them online and stresses that no one should feel as if they are alone.

    "My mom was the glue of the family, a genuine sweet and amazing soul. It's painful, really painful. What I do today is all powered by supporting her, so that it wasn't in vain," Beatty said. "We collectively as a nation need to step up, because Alzheimer's is an epidemic, and our health care system is not set up to support caregivers."

    The cost of Alzheimer's, including caregiving, is a reality that will soon affect everyone, say experts.

    "A lot of people think that 'Alzheimer's doesn't affect me because I'm not old' or 'I don't have it in my family, so it's really not my problem,' " Drew said. "What we've come to understand is, if you have a brain, you're at risk for Alzheimer's disease."

    "If we all live to age 85 -- and who doesn't hope to live at least that long? -- almost half of us will have Alzheimer's disease," Potter said, "and the other half will be caregivers. No one is immune."
    Alzheimer's: the disease that could bankrupt Medicare - CNN.com

    From a purely economic POV, Alzheimer's is the ultimate money drain: a disease that doesn't kill for a very long time, but whose sufferers absolutely require skilled medical care and more from diagnosis to death.

    What are the implications of this? IMO, we absolutely need more young, healthy immigrants to alter the population mix and to provide the unskilled medical care these patients will need.

    AND IMO, we absolutely need to discuss ways to change Medicare's funding or coverage so it doesn't collapse. Means testing and rationing.

    Your thoughts?
    Thanks from bajisima and Thx1138

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Just a reminder of the population bomb we are facing:

    Thanks from Thx1138 and BigLeRoy

  3. #3
    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Such a sad thing. Around here we have lots of new "Memory Centers" as they are called for those dealing with Alzheimers. Some are for daycare situations and others are for full live in care. This is going to test us like never before. On the one hand, we have way fewer younger people than boomers so that's going to hurt. But the biggest issue I am beginning to see with friends of mine are that they have parents that need care but the kids are struggling because their own kids (the millennials)are still living home. I work with a woman in her 50s who has a 30 year old and a 27 year old still at home. They have massive college debt and so do the parents. She also has a dad with Alzheimers who is a widower. He isn't that bad yet but cant really live on his own. She doesn't know what to do, these facilities are so expensive and she cant afford to stop working. As I said, its going to be a massive issue.
    Thanks from Madeline

  4. #4
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    I remember whe it was AIDS that was going to bankrupt our country.
    Thanks from Southern Dad and Madeline

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by labrea View Post
    I remember whe it was AIDS that was going to bankrupt our country.
    So do, but there is even less hope Alzheimer's can be cured or vaccinated against than there was as to AIDS, in the late 1980's.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    So do, but there is even less hope Alzheimer's can be cured or vaccinated against than there was as to AIDS, in the late 1980's.
    That's because it effects mostly those over 60. Hard to get funding for that demographic.
    Thanks from Madeline

  7. #7
    Moderator HCProf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    Such a sad thing. Around here we have lots of new "Memory Centers" as they are called for those dealing with Alzheimers. Some are for daycare situations and others are for full live in care. This is going to test us like never before. On the one hand, we have way fewer younger people than boomers so that's going to hurt. But the biggest issue I am beginning to see with friends of mine are that they have parents that need care but the kids are struggling because their own kids (the millennials)are still living home. I work with a woman in her 50s who has a 30 year old and a 27 year old still at home. They have massive college debt and so do the parents. She also has a dad with Alzheimers who is a widower. He isn't that bad yet but cant really live on his own. She doesn't know what to do, these facilities are so expensive and she cant afford to stop working. As I said, its going to be a massive issue.
    I predict this is going to be a huge issue. Not only Medicare, but availability of facilities to care for ALZ patients. No matter how good your intentions are or willingness to care give for ALZ patients, it is impossible to care for them at home as a family unit. You need someone who is available around the clock to keep them safe. I work with a couple of long term health facilities where my HS students extern for their STNA program and many of them have ALZ patients mixed in with the other patients and that is a problem as well. My MIL was in rehab at a local facility and she shared a room with a ALZ patient and it was awful as far as her recovery. The patient howled day and night and she could not get any rest. The patient was up all night and day..and my MIL became more depressed day after day. I ended up moving her because of this.

    This is where we need to offer options to people who are first diagnosed with ALZ and while they are able to make decisions..such as Die with Dignity laws. Most folks I know, definitely do not want to go out this way. It is horrible at the end and takes a long time to die. Some can linger over 10 years.
    Thanks from Madeline and bajisima

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Alzheimer's: the disease that could bankrupt Medicare - CNN.com

    From a purely economic POV, Alzheimer's is the ultimate money drain: a disease that doesn't kill for a very long time, but whose sufferers absolutely require skilled medical care and more from diagnosis to death.

    What are the implications of this? IMO, we absolutely need more young, healthy immigrants to alter the population mix and to provide the unskilled medical care these patients will need.

    AND IMO, we absolutely need to discuss ways to change Medicare's funding or coverage so it doesn't collapse. Means testing and rationing.

    Your thoughts?
    Ms. Madeline,

    I forget, what is Medicare?

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HCProf View Post
    I predict this is going to be a huge issue. Not only Medicare, but availability of facilities to care for ALZ patients. No matter how good your intentions are or willingness to care give for ALZ patients, it is impossible to care for them at home as a family unit. You need someone who is available around the clock to keep them safe. I work with a couple of long term health facilities where my HS students extern for their STNA program and many of them have ALZ patients mixed in with the other patients and that is a problem as well. My MIL was in rehab at a local facility and she shared a room with a ALZ patient and it was awful as far as her recovery. The patient howled day and night and she could not get any rest. The patient was up all night and day..and my MIL became more depressed day after day. I ended up moving her because of this.

    This is where we need to offer options to people who are first diagnosed with ALZ and while they are able to make decisions..such as Die with Dignity laws. Most folks I know, definitely do not want to go out this way. It is horrible at the end and takes a long time to die. Some can linger over 10 years.
    I should have the right to die with dignity, when I can no longer reside at home, alone.
    Thanks from HCProf

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