What could be the down side to modern medicine finding more and more ways
to help us live longer? The fact that living longer doesn’t always
mean living better. For instance, the longer we live, the higher our chances
of developing dementia.
The World Health Organization has recently shared the staggering news that
the number of people living with dementia worldwide will triple by the
year 2050. (
www.prb.org/Articles/2012/global-dementia.aspx) This increase is due in part to the fact that by 2050, the percentage
of the world’s population that is age 65 and older will increase
from the current 8% to 17%.
Dementia impacts both the person living with the cognitive disorder and
those around them, particularly a spouse or adult child who becomes their
caregiver. Being a caregiver for a loved one with dementia is no easy task.
Helping a loved one with dementia usually involves a long and slow journey
that too many caregivers choose to take alone. It is not a sign of weakness
or a lack of love for the caregiver to reach out for help. In many cases,
reaching out for help turns out to be the best thing for both the caregiver
and the family member with dementia. Dealing with dementia is too big
of a responsibility for one caregiver alone and sometimes even for one
There are many resources available to assist, for example a caregiver support
group, a geriatric care manager, an elder law attorney or an assisted
living community that offers day care or respite care so that the caregiver
can have some time to focus on the other responsibilities in their lives.
As more and more families face the daunting prospect of an older loved
one developing dementia, the good news is that they don’t have to
face the prospect alone because the number of resources devoted to assisting
a family with the impact of dementia is also growing.