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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Alzheimer’s: The Coming Tsunami

 

Join us in a Demonstration of Alzheimer’s Disease

The statistics are frightening. And while this video does not truly represent Alzheimer’s disease it does show the effects of poor vision, hearing, sensory deprivation, neuropathies and auditory hallucinations.

Great Challenges attempts to examine the challenge and possible solutions

By 2020 there will be 43 million Americans over 65 and 15 million over 85 (double the figures of 1980). Almost certainly, we are facing an unprecedented number of mentally impaired citizens.

Not only will this impact the elderly, but their children who must care for them in the face of their very own challenges, in some cases still raising there own children Long term care facilities will be overwhelmed with the need, and the economics require creative thinking.

Perhaps society as a whole must care for it’s aging population by a rotating care giver community. Smaller community homes with 6-10 residents cared for by local families, and friends in addition to professional care-givers.

We have little choice but to prepare as best we can, not live in denial and think out of the box for solutions.

At today’s rate healthcare is 17% of the GDP, and even with cost constraints, the Affordable Care Act and Accountable Care Organizations, it could skyrocket.

People are uncomfortable speaking about death or imminent death…yet we must.

Did the eskimos know something we don’t?  The popular legend that the Eskimos put their old people on ice floes and set them adrift is wrong in detail, but it's not terribly far off in the broad strokes.

In good times, a healthy old person (or child or disabled person) was almost never killed or abandoned merely for being a burden. In the few recorded cases where younger family members did kill their elders without cause, they suffered social stigma, the severest punishment available in traditional Eskimo culture, which was essentially anarchic.

In hard times, older Eskimos often felt they were a burden, and asked their younger relatives to kill them.

None of this is especially comforting when your kids start making noise about putting you in the Shady Rest and how much better it would be than an ice floe. I can only suggest pointing out the economic realities: Even the Eskimos didn't do away with elders who were still providing free room and board.

Hmmmm, maybe I shouldn’t ask my sons to move out…….just yet.

 

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