Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has authored a compelling Op-Ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times arguing that this country needs to make a greater financial commitment to finding medicines that will delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or, better yet, cure it. The likelihood that a person will develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia doubles every 5 years after age 65. One of every two persons over age 85 is afflicted. This disease is 100% incurable and robs people of their memory, judgment and dignity. It depletes families both emotionally and financially.
By 2050, it is estimated that 13.5 million Americans will be stricken by this disease. We are sure that you will agree that developing a well designed and adequately funded national strategic plan to combat this disease is necessary.
In the meantime, we continue to urge everyone to make both financial and legal plans to deal with this eventuality. The comfort and dignity of you and your loved ones can be maximized by proper planning. By preparing, in advance, detailed instructions to your caregivers on matters of daily living that are important to the preservation of your dignity, you can make a substantial difference in your quality of life if suffering from dementia. Examples of small things like indicating your favorite foods or whether you like the room temperature warm or cool can make a large difference. We can help with both the legal and personal planning. I also am available if you just want to talk. In addition to my professional experience, my 86 year old mother has dementia and I have been through some of the stress and anguish which accompanies this disease.