The Age of Alzheimer’s

by Nancy Wurtzel

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Our world is transitioning into a new era, the ‘Age of Alzheimer’s.’  Much like the disease itself, the transition is slow and torturous.  If you review the staggering statistics — in the U.S. alone — it becomes obvious the financial, emotional and societal toll of Alzheimer’s, and other progressive brain diseases, is mind-boggling.

What is even more staggering is this: Alzheimer’s was discovered and identified more than a century ago, yet there is still no cure and no effective treatments.

No Cure or Treatments for Alzheimer’s

caregiver-alzheimers-dementia-memory-caregiving-caregiversIf this always-fatal disease was killing young people or children, would we have already solved it?  I think the answer is ‘absolutely.’  Instead, Alzheimer’s has languished in the shadows, while the numbers rise and the devastation continues.

These are my thoughts on why we haven’t solved the Alzheimer’s puzzle:

  • Alzheimer’s is widely seen as an old person’s disease (not true).
  • People view it as a normal progression of aging (it is not) and inevitable (it doesn’t have to be).
  • These brain diseases progress slowly (which means it doesn’t have the impact of tragic, sudden death).
  • There is a high degree of shame surrounding these diseases (people still talk about it in whispers).
  • Alzheimer’s has become institutionalized in world economies, especially in the U.S. (where it is now a huge profit-making industry)

Why Isn’t Alzheimer’s a Top Priority?

elderly, aging, Alzheimer's, dementia, seniors, memory loss, older, cognitive functionThe will to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and other progressive brain diseases has been mostly lacking by the general population.


One reason, is that there are so many horrific problems in the world, and these pressing problems push Alzheimer’s into the background.  Many people realize the disease is a tremendous problem, but immediate issues push it off the front page.

Change only happens when enough pressure is applied.  This pressure must be generated at a grassroots level, along with more pressure from scientists/researchers, non-profit agencies, elected officials and societal leaders.  While there is pressure, it is not yet at that critical tipping point.

Do we have the will to tip this disease over the edge?  I hope so.

The clock is ticking.


Nancy Wurtzel blogs at Dating Dementia about Alzheimer’s, dementia, aging, seniors, memory loss, death with dignity, end of life choices and caring for elderly parents
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