Del. community leaders concerned about growing aging population facing Alzheimer’s

DELAWARE –  17,000 Delawareans are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s and those numbers are expected to increase 35% by 2025. After the Centers for Disease Control released a study projecting that the rate of Americans living with the disease is expected to double by 2060, service organizations in Delaware are even more concerned.

The Delaware population consortium estimates that the state will have over 300,000 older residents by 2030. With an increase in population, there’s also an increase in diseases.

CHEER Community Center CEO, Ken Bock says, “We particularly in Sussex County are not prepared to deal with the kinds of challenges that our older population will be presenting. Sussex County is experiencing the silver tsunami. Right now we’re having record numbers of baby boomers that are aging here and staying here in Sussex county, so we’re getting more and more older residents.”

The CHEER Community Center already has several programs with a memory cafe and adult day program, but more will need to be done.

“There are going to have more services especially in this area because we have so many couples that retire here and their families aren’t here. One person can’t do the caregiving for a person with dementia,” Jamie Magee, the Office Coordinator for the Sussex County Branch for the Alzheimer’s Association tells us.

With an increase in population, there also needs to be an increase of caregivers. We’re told keeping folks at home is less expensive but also helps patients thrive longer. 47 ABC spoke to the Deputy Director for the Division Services for Aging & Adults with Physical Disabilities, Laura Howard who says, “The workforce that we have is not keeping up with the demand of those services so as a state we need to figure out how to increase that workforce and really grow that so we can keep people in their home as long as possible.”

In order to raise awareness, Division Services for Aging & Adults with Physical Disabilities says that they are launching a dementia friendly initiative. They are going to provide training to businesses and community leaders in order to have a dementia friendly community.

There are also several things you can do to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, the greatest risk factor is age. The Alzheimer’s Association says dieting can actually be key, such as trying out the Mediterranean diet. But activities that challenge your brain are essential. Exercise and puzzles are great to keep your mind engaged. But also, music and socializing are two other factors that can be extremely helpful.

If you’d like to raise awareness or donate, the 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place in Rehoboth Beach on Saturday, Sept. 29. The walk will start at 10:15 at Grove Park.

Categories: Delaware, Local News