New numbers show Alzheimer’s is expected to cost the U.S. nearly $300 billion this year.
But that doesn’t even compare to the emotional toll it takes on families and loved ones.
Dan Summers, of Lehigh Acres, lives with Joan, his wife of 61 years.
“It does destroy families,” Dan said.
Joan is living with Alzheimer’s, and Dan said the last 18 years have been a challenge.
“It’s just one of those slow deaths, and you hope for the best,” Dan said.
One in 10 Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“She hasn’t been able to talk to me or say my name for 10 years now,” Dan said.
Groups are working to prevent this from happening to other families.
June 21 is known as the longest day to the Alzheimer’s Association. It’s a way to raise awareness about the disease and the need for a cure.
Sam Lewis is behind the idea for a group in Southwest Florida making “one memory” videos.
“The primary goal would be to make Alzheimer’s go viral for one day,” Lewis said.
Lewis said he hopes more people will share their “one memory” videos online to keep the conversation about a cure going.
Dan said he hopes caregivers will also be a part of that conversation.
“This is how she is every day,” Dan said. “Every day I get her up and bathe her from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet.”
Dan added he hopes more people will think about the disease every day of the year.
The average life expectancy after diagnosis is between eight and 10 years, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.