I hope everyone is having a good holiday season. I know I am but could use some more snow and ice here in Colorado for climbing!
As I prepare my Christmas wish list for Santa, help I thought I would share it with you in hopes I can influence your list.
All I want for Christmas is a dramatic improvement in the ongoing work to find a cure for Dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), and help those tireless caregivers.
So Santa, if you are listening, can you bring these five wishes true around the world?
1. Double the Real Funding for Research.
Similar to the war on Cancer, and the fight on HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s researchers need billions of dollars for:
- Early detection. It is now thought that Alzheimer’s may start up to 20 years before symptoms appear.
- Slow the progression. Once symptoms start, there is no proven way to slow the progression, only to symptoms. It is truly the long goodbye.
- Cure: the holy grail. Alzheimer’s is the only disease of the top 10 causes without a way to prevent, cure or slow the progression.
learn more at The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund
2. Global Education and Awareness Campaign
Most people confuse signs of aging with dementia or they cannot name 3 of the 10 signs. During the holidays, children spend time with aging parents, and friends get together. It is a perfect time to know the 10 signs and reach out to anyone who needs help, including caregivers. A recent survey showed that 47% of U.S. public think Alzheimer’s is able. That is false.
There is a stigma around AD and no one wants to talk about. We must be open and honest about this disease. It will take a large scale public awareness campaign to reach millions around the world and even more to gain the awareness that breast cancer has today.
learn more at The Alzheimer’s Association
3. Make Alzheimer’s the Center of Public Health Policy
Alzheimer’s Disease is larger than private companies can handle with their pressure on profits and long term models. Direct investment by Governments, the United Nations and the World Health Organization are urgently required. Today the US Government spends over $1.00 for dementia care compared to only $0.01 spent on research. This is upside down and wrong.
Governments around the world must take a more pro-active role in funding research, educating their citizens and providing financial assistance for care. The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) was signed by President Obama and unanimously approved by Congress but has not been fully funded. This is unacceptable.
4. Increase Physician Training
Recognizing signs of dementia is not a large part of every medical school’s program. And for many physicians, they were never exposed to basic training in the first place. So millions of people who could receive help, and their families, go on with their lives each year undiagnosed.
In addition to is the need to guide families as their loved ones go through the difficult journey. The American Medical Association and other medical teaching organizations need to step up their efforts to train physicians today.
learn more at the AMA
5. Create Dedicated Dementia Facilities
A nursing home is not a place for most individuals with early and mid stage Alzheimer’s. These individuals are often fully functional and need mental stimulation – not a place to be parked until death. As the world’s population ages and families can no longer care for loved ones in their homes, there is an urgent need for special dementia facilities at a reasonable cost.
learn more at Alzheimer’s Speaks Blog
To learn even more, download the Alzheimer’s Association 2012 Facts & Figures report.