FORT MYERS, Fla.- In this economy, it seems like every program has taken a hit, but one state-wide initiative still has all it's funding in tact.
The Florida Alzheimer's Disease Initiative will take on new significance in the coming years as our population ages. Lee Memorial Hospital is home to one of the 15 memory disorder clinics in the state. Lee Memory Care has been serving Southwest Florida since 1993 and it's seen a steady increase in recent years as boomers reach retirement age.
Population experts have dubbed this the Silver Tsunami and warn the number of Alzheimer's patients is expected to grow by 30 percent in by 2025. There are currently 450,000 Floridians with Alzheimer's disease today.
Nationwide, that number is 5.3 million.
While the wave of expected Alzheimer's patients may put a strain on families and the economy, it seems Florida is better positioned than other states to handle the growing number of patients. The state legislature created the Alzheimer's disease initiative 25 years ago, which created memory disorder clinics across the state, funded adult day care program and respite care to help care givers.
While the funding for the program has not been cut, those on the front lines of treating this disease say more is needed. Experts predict the number of Americans with Alzheimer's may triple by 2050. Estimated costs for treating the disease will ballon to 800 billion dollars a year.