We must reevaluate our standards on Alzheimer’s and dementia care

The Miami Herald, September 21, 2010

Thoughtful story, published on national Alzheimer’s Day, about the need for a higher standard of care for patients with Alzheimer’s:

“Today, more than five million Americans face the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, more than 10 million caregivers serve them and a new diagnosis of the disease is being made every 70 seconds. By 2050, it’s estimated that the number of those affected will triple, and a diagnosis will be made every 33 seconds.

. . .

Currently, our healthcare system is ill-equipped to properly provide the type of consistent, quality, long-term care persons with Alzheimer’s require. Too many long-term caregivers are encouraged to do the bare minimum of only keeping residents clean, dry, quiet and free from injury. Too many of us simply assume this is the best care we can expect for our loved ones. As a result, those with the disease and their loved ones lose their quality of life.

To overcome this, a new standard must be set, one that does not aim for those with Alzheimer’s and related dementias to merely survive, but one that raises the bar and mandates individualized, best abilities care that prioritizes the functional potential and bright human spirit that remain within.”

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