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NJ Alzheimer's patient population expected to grow

NJBIZ - 12/4/2018

Speaking at a Fox Trail Senior Living benefit at the Ramsey Country Club on Wednesday, Randy Lerner, manager, marketing and communications, for the Alzheimer's Association-Greater New Jersey Chapter, said Alzheimer's is the only disease in the top 10 diseases that has no treatment or cure.

Lerner said that there has been a recent increase in resources and more assisted living centers with dedicated dementia units.

"It’s a booming industry and the Alzheimer's Association is here to guide families by providing services and helping to support families and caregivers in the home and in facilities."

There are more than 500,000 caregivers in the state.

Fox Trail managing partner, Michael Eisele, said that as people become more aware of disease they have become more comfortable with putting family members in assisted living centers dedicated to dementia.

"There are benefits to centers dedicated to Alzheimer's and dementia care,” said Eisele. “It pertains mostly to family members because we provide a lifestyle for patients that perpetuates comfort and that carries over to the family. If mom's comfortable, we're comfortable."

Fox Trail Senior Living specializes in memory care.

Lerner said that Alzheimer's continues to be a financial burden on families because Medicare does not cover assisted living and most assisted living centers are private pay and pricey. While long-term care insurance covers assisted living, few people can afford it.

Lerner said that while it may be ideal to keep Alzheimer's patients at home, if the environment is safe, it puts a strain on families.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief medical correspondent, Good Morning America, stressed the importance of bringing awareness to the disease.

Ashton cited a recent study out of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas where a new experimental Alzheimer's disease vaccine showed promise in tests conducted on mice. Ashton said that the findings are encouraging because if the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective in human trials, it has the potential to reduce the total number of dementia diagnoses by 50 percent.

Lerner said that while Alzheimer's remains a devastating disease and a daunting task for caregivers and medical professionals, he's optimistic about the enthusiasm and dedication exhibited by professionals who care for patients.

"They truly believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There will be a breakthrough, we can hope that it is for our generation, that’s what the Alzheimer's Association is fighting for." Copyright 2018 BridgeTower Media. All Rights Reserved.

CREDIT: Anthony Vecchione

 
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