Officials: Not Enough Support for those Suffering from Alzheimer’s
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- A recent report released by the Untied States Senate is showing we as a country are lagging behind in Alzheimer’s support. Which is something officials here on the Western Slope say is true for our immediate area as well.
Though organizations have been working for years to promote Alzheimer’s support they say, their fight is no where close to being done.
“Every 68 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Teresa Black, of the Alzheimer’s Association. “It’s similar but also more burdensome than caring for a child.”
The disease is a form of dementia officials at Alzheimer’s Association say, is an emotional toll not everyone can grasp on to. Which is why additional support is needed not just in the Grand Valley, but officials say, across the United States.
“Our funding when compared to other major diseases has always been low, but our death rates are the only death rates that are increasing,” said Black.
In Mesa County alone, officials estimate that more than 1,600 residents are diagnosed with the disease, with only 4, 500 caregivers.
However, the staff at Comfort Care offer everything a person with the disease may need.
“Being familiar with what’s going on and having a regular place and a room, it helps and keeps them maintained,” said Brenda Lewis, administrator at Comfort Care. “It’s possibly could be helping them hold on to any memory they have left.”
The center offers a smaller facility to their 6 residents, and stabilizes their care givers on 24-hour shifts to provide their tenants with a routine. Although they say, there is a whole lot more help still needed.
“Our hope would be to see more support from the state and a little less of their restrictions that they put on us,” said Lewis. “So we can provide more care to the population, since it is growing.”
It’s growing because the baby boomer generation is reaching over that 65 age range. Something officials call a danger zone for the disease, and add that Alzheimer’s disease will only need more support in the coming years.
“Our numbers over the next 15 to 20 years are going to sky rocket,” said Black.
Recently officials say there have been strides in getting support.
The NAPA Act passed that included getting those with the disease on the fast track with Social Security. So, when they’re diagnosed, their claim for disability gets approved much quicker.