Rising Alzheimer’s Creates Strain on Caregivers

Washington • David Hilfiker knows what’s coming. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so early that he’s had time to tell his family what he wants to happen once forgetfulness turns incapacitating.

“When it’s time to put me in an institution, don’t have me at home and destroy your own life,” said the retired physician, who is still well enough that he blogs about the insidious progress of the disease. “Watching the Lights Go Out,” it’s titled.

Nearly half of all seniors who need some form of long-term care — from help at home to full-time care in a facility — have dementia, the World Alzheimer Report said Thursday. It’s a staggering problem as the global population ages, placing enormous strain on families who provide the bulk of that care at least early on, and on national economies alike.

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