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Indiana Prepares for Baby Boomer Alzheimer’s Caseload

June 21, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - A state task force is gathering up data, views and personal experience to help craft a plan to address the growing number of Hoosiers with Alzheimer's disease. More than 120,000 state residents have it, a number that is expected to grow as the Baby Boom generation ages.

Obesity gets a lot of attention as a public health issue, but Alzheimer's could prove to be a bigger and more expensive problem. A task force appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels is charged with developing a state plan to deal with the challenge, and is looking to the public for help.

Michael Sullivan with the Indiana Alzheimer's Association says there are many factors at play in preparing to deal with an increased caseload.

"It's not just a health-care issue; but there are also safety issues, law enforcement issues, driving issues, work force issues."

The Governor's Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Senile Dementia is asking the public for help in gathering insights and data through a confidential survey, open through August 31.

Those in late stages of the disease require 24-hour care and, besides the costs, Sullivan says, Alzheimer's takes a toll on family members, friends, and caregivers, who are involved personally or professionally.

"One of the scary things is, nationwide, there are about 5.5 million diagnosed cases right now. By 2050, that's going increase to over 16 million cases."

Sullivan says some people live up to 20 years after an Alzheimer's diagnosis.

The task force was established earlier this year under state law: statutes.laws.com

The confidential survey is at www.surveymonkey.com

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - IN