Despite Alzheimer's being a serious problem, up until now much of the medical efforts have been toward treating the condition. Unfortunately, while some medications may address some of the symptoms of the disease, none have proven effective in slowing its progression. Now, according to an article from Newsweek, some researchers have shifted their focus from treating the disease to preventing it.
Adding Years To A Life
More than five million people suffer from Alzheimer's in the United States alone, and experts predict that the number will increase dramatically over the next few decades. This is not only a major issue for the individuals diagnosed with the disease and their families, it could cause an intense strain on the medical system. This is why hundreds of millions of dollars are now being used to find a way to prevent the disease.
One of the key reasons for the transition in research from treatment to prevention is the ability to diagnose Alzheimer's. In the past, medical studies suffered because it was not possible to differentiate Alzheimer's sufferers from people with other forms of dementia. Now, there have been strides in diagnosis that make it easier to ensure that those taking part in clinical studies actually have the disease and that results are not diluted by testing medication on those who have a disease that may be similar but is not the same.
High Hopes For The Future And Help For Today
The experts interviewed in the article have high hopes that a method may be discovered to, if not completely prevent Alzheimer's, at least delay its onset. In the meantime, those who have been diagnosed with the disease are left to face many challenges. Not only are there medical challenges, there are also challenges in terms of care. Family members are often left struggling to find and pay for a reputable nursing home.
Thankfully, Medicaid may cover nursing home care for many Alzheimer's sufferers. However, many people worry that they will not be eligible for Medicaid coverage because of their assets, or they think that they must spend down their assets in order to be eligible. That may not be necessary. Before taking this step, you should consult with an attorney experienced in Medicaid planning and elder law.
Even if you have not even looked at nursing homes or applied for Medicaid, you could benefit from talking to a trusted attorney and determining a plan of action for moving forward.