Close Close

Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

Alzheimer's Looms As Major Epidemic

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Alzheimer’s disease may be becoming an epidemic.

The number of U.S. cases has increased to 5 million from 4.5 million in the past 5 years, according to David Shenk, author of “The Forgetting. Alzheimer’s: Portrait of an Epidemic.”

With the oldest boomers approaching age 65, that number could mushroom to 15 million by 2011, Shenk warned during a teleconference sponsored by a foundation affiliated with MetLife Inc., New York.

“Alzheimer’s affects not only the patient but also caregivers,” Shenk said. “It can take people’s lives over for a decade or more.”

Results of a recent survey sponsored by MetLife show that many Americans are unrepared for Alzheimer’s disease.

Although 35% of participants said they knew someone with Alzheimer’s disease, 74% of the participants admitted to knowing little or nothing about the disease.

Meanwhile, although 80% of older survey participants said preparing for the possibility of getting Alzheimer’s disease is important, only 26% have considered care options, and 83% have made no financial arrangements, according to the survey results.