Alzheimer's Disease: Individuals, Dyads, Communities, and Costs.
Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) affect over 5 million Americans. Over a typical disease course of 5-10 years, family caregivers provide the majority of the day-to-day hands-on on care for persons with dementia. Most caregivers enter this complex role with little training and inadequate household resources and they are tasked to navigate a fragmented health care system as well as a patchwork of community services. Our nation can and should do more to help family caregivers provide care in the home to their loved ones who suffer from dementia. We will all benefit if we design and implement a better system of care for persons with dementia. We will benefit financially as a nation, we will benefit morally as a community, and in case we have forgotten, we stand to benefit ourselves as we age and face our own aging brain. Building a system of care requires excellent science and engineering, but we also need creative approaches that design systems of care that are available nationwide because they are scalable and affordable. Most importantly, families need our help now. We need to move faster.