BRYAN Women over 60 are twice as likely to get Alzheimer's in their lifetime than breast cancer according to new numbers form the Alzheimer's Association, with a 65-year-old woman having a one in six chance of developing the disease.
The Alzheimer's Association of Houston and Southeast Texas Chapter held a Reason to Hope luncheon at Miramont Country Club in Bryan Tuesday to share their urgency for finding more treatment options, and hopefully a cure.
The organization continues to raise awareness, and push for more research of this disease that affects the mind and can be fatal.
It's also a very costly disease.
"They may be unable to carry out activities a day. Live and care feed for themselves, dress themselves. And also safety becomes an issue so around the clock care is needed and that's where the price tag really starts to increase," said Kelly McCann, Chief Program Officer for the Alzheimer's Association of Houston and Southeast Texas Chapter.
The Alzheimer's Association says the total price for treating Alzheimer's Disease in the U.S. is now over $430 billion a year.
Alzheimer's Disease is called a family disease because watching a loved one slowly decline affects everyone.
News 3 met with two families dealing with different stages of the disease.
"We'll see how they'll bloom. They'll actually make some tomatoes," said David Konderla of Bryan.
Konderla has a lot of energy at 78 as he showed us his backyard and family pet in Bryan.
"This dog's name is Easter Lily," he said.
"I feel great because I'm going to physical therapy and I'm planning on living at least 12 more years. That's my plan," he laughed.
Konderla is doing well despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Cruz Ramirez is his caretaker part of the time.
"His mind is good to me. He might repeat himself once in a while but it's nothing noticeable," she said.
Of the five million seniors in the U.S. living with Alzheimer's nearly two-thirds are women.
That's something Don Baird of Houston experienced with his wife Cheryl. She was diagnosed at just 57.
"I was in denial, I knew there was something wrong, my friends and neighbors knew there was something wrong," said Baird.
Her personality changed, she'd forget things, and became aggressive and not her normal self. She soon required constant care and ended up in a memory care facility.
"I ended up checking myself into the hospital because of stress. That is not uncommon amongst caregivers because the stress if you are trying to do it all by yourself it's a 24 hour job. If you're loved one has to be bathed and dressed and fed it's like having a child that's big and strong," said Baird.
Don Baird hopes people will learn from his story and remember the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Sadly his wife lost her battle in December.
"It's a tough journey. Don't go it alone, there's help out there. Don't be afraid to ask for help," said Don Baird.
Many resources and people hoping to cure this deadly disease.
The Alzheimer's Association says that every 67 seconds another American develops Alzheimer's Disease.
And in 2050 that number is expected to jump to every 33 seconds.
For more resources and help on how to handle the illness we have a link for you attached in the related links section.
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