Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Scary Truth about Alzheimer's. The Disease that could Bankrupt Medicare.

Alzheimer's: The disease that could bankrupt Medicare

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN
(CNN)Every 66 seconds this year, an American will develop Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association annual report, released Tuesday.
By the year 2050, that number is expected to double to one every 33 seconds.
Those startling statistics are mirrored worldwide. In 2016, the World Alzheimer's Report estimated that 47 million people around the globe had dementia. To put that in perspective, it's a bit more than the current population of Spain.
And because nine of 10 people with dementia in low- and middle-income countries and half of those in high-income countries are not diagnosed, the global number of people diagnosed is expected to triple by 2050.
"What is driving these numbers is that there is no disease modifying treatment, no prevention and no cure," said Ruth Drew, director of family and information services for the Alzheimer's Association. "And while U.S. deaths from Alzheimer's have doubled in the last 15 years, an increase of 89%, deaths from other major diseases have been declining."
For example, said Drew, deaths from heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans, have declined by 14% over the same period while HIV deaths have dropped by 54%, stroke deaths by 21% and prostate cancer deaths by 9%.
"Other diseases have declined because of significant investments in research that produce treatments and techniques to reduce risk, sometimes even a cure," Drew said.
"The issue is mainly funding," agreed Rudy Tanzi, a Harvard professor of neurology who also heads up MassGeneral's Genetics and Aging Research Unit. "We are a knowledge-rich yet budget-constrained field. We have many clues about how to stop Alzheimer's, especially from recent genetic studies, but insufficient funds to explore how."

The cost to society

Experts point out that without additional funding and a breakthrough, Alzheimer's could be the disease that breaks the nation's health care bank. In 2017, for the first time, total costs for caring for those living with Alzheimer's and other dementias hit $259 billion -- over a quarter of a trillion dollars.
"Already, Alzheimer's consumes one in every five Medicare/Medicaid dollars," Tanzi said. "With 71 million baby boomers headed toward risk age, this will go to one in three, perhaps in the next decade, at which point Alzheimer's will single-handedly collapse Medicare/Medicaid."
"It will also impact the work force and our economy," Drew added. "Because every family affected will be making caregiving choices they will have at home. They will be absent more for doctor visits ... and other caregiving duties."
There's more. The association's report adds another startling statistic, the hidden cost of caregiving: In 2016, those who took care of loved ones with dementia provided an "estimated 18.2 billion hours of unpaid assistance, a contribution to the nation valued at $230.1 billion."
And that's just the monetary impact of caregiving. Experts say no one can put a number on the emotional and health impact of caring for a loved one with dementia.
"Alzheimer's is like a leaky boat in a hurricane," said Huntington Potter, director of the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer's Disease Center. "We have to both bail like mad and fix the leaks. Researchers are working hard to fix the leaks, but it will take time; for now, the main load is carried by the bailing caregivers. They are on the front lines in this war against Alzheimer's."

Toll of caregiving

Kristen Beatty is one of those fighting on the front lines. She and her brother, Doug Rider, are caring for their 78-year-old father, Ray, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 10 years ago.
"My father was a lifer in the Air Force, a colonel, a fighter pilot and a Vietnam veteran," Beatty said. "My mom, Sue, was a proper military wife, and between them, they had a 'don't ask, don't tell' attitude about informing us kids about his illness."
It wasn't until they took over their dad's care that they learned just what their mother had been going through.
"He developed a sense of paranoia and thought people were stealing from him and believed everyone was out to get him," Beatty said. "He would go to bed early but then get up and was up all night long, arguing with mom.
"They would have conversations and arguments over and over again. She wasn't getting any sleep. She was exhausted with the constant care and pressure. But she never once complained. She didn't want us to be scared."
But in 2012, after five years of caregiving, Sue Rider dropped dead of a heart attack.
"We say that she died of a broken heart," Beatty said. "Died from the stress of caring for him. She was eating super healthy, walking every day, taking very good care of herself. So I truly believe it was the stress.
"It's awful, just awful," she said with a catch in her voice. "My brother and I feel so guilty, because we could have supported her, but she would not ask for help; she would not consider moving him into a facility; she would not go to support groups."
Today, Beatty works with the Alzheimer's Association to call attention to the burden of caregiving. She points people to the resources available to them online and stresses that no one should feel as if they are alone.
"My mom was the glue of the family, a genuine sweet and amazing soul. It's painful, really painful. What I do today is all powered by supporting her, so that it wasn't in vain," Beatty said. "We collectively as a nation need to step up, because Alzheimer's is an epidemic, and our health care system is not set up to support caregivers."
The cost of Alzheimer's, including caregiving, is a reality that will soon affect everyone, say experts.
"A lot of people think that 'Alzheimer's doesn't affect me because I'm not old' or 'I don't have it in my family, so it's really not my problem,' " Drew said. "What we've come to understand is, if you have a brain, you're at risk for Alzheimer's disease."
"If we all live to age 85 -- and who doesn't hope to live at least that long? -- almost half of us will have Alzheimer's disease," Potter said, "and the other half will be caregivers. No one is immune."

Monday, January 30, 2017

Relatives accused of abandoning a California man with dementia in UK parking lot

 I have posted about this in the past. China has a significant problem with Alzheimer's  patients and the families that are care taking. On average 64,000 people a year are left out wonder around and the family doesn't come to claim them.  Recently a California man who suffers from dementia was left by his family in a UK parking lot.  This is just terrible... But I imagine we will see more of this to come.  The story is below.


An American man with dementia allegedly was flown to Britain and dumped in a parking lot by his own family, according to U.S. court documents.
Roger Curry, 76, was mysteriously discovered outside the bus station in Hereford in November 2015 after being abandoned by his wife Mary and son Kevin, investigators said.
The case baffled cops after Curry was found in the picturesque hamlet with two men.
One was younger and also had an American accent and the second was a local man who answered a police appeal for information.
But as soon as the paramedics stopped the younger American disappeared – fueling suspicions that he was a relative who was trying to abandon the man.
Curry was cared for at a nursing home in Britain for eight months before being flown back to Los Angeles.
Police spent months trying to work out who he was, despite contacting local care homes, hospitals and even international embassies.
According to tonight’s BBC Panorama investigation, court papers filed in LA state: “In late 2015 Mr Curry was taken surreptitiously to England by his wife Mary Curry and his son Kevin Curry and abandoned there.”
Curry appeared to have been cared for and was found wearing new clothes.
He lived in a care home run by Herefordshire Council for months but was identified after a viewer responded to a police appeal on BBC Midlands last March.
Debbie Cocker found an old picture from a 1958 yearbook for Edmonds High School in Washington State which appeared to show Curry in his younger days, as reported in the Daily Mail.
Roger Curry was then tracked down by investigators to a a burnt-out house following a fire at his home in 2014 in an affluent suburb of Los Angeles.
Neighbors identified the mystery man as Curry, a former nurse married with two children.
Son Kevin told Panorama that he had nothing to do with the abandonment of his dad in England.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Meet Ken


Ken Dodson 10/2016
Copyright: BMW Photography
Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine your about 30 years old. You have a wife, a couple of kids, a home, a job, etc. Your going about your daily routine and then it all changes. You are diagnosed with Alzheimer's. This is the new reality of the disease that is claiming more lives each year whom happen to be younger and younger. Throw out the assumption that its an old person's disease.  Its not.  The reality is, its every persons disease.

Meet Ken Dodson. He is now 38 and is living with Alzheimer’s. Let me repeat that.  Ken is 38 and is living with Alzheimer’s.   Congrats Alzheimer's you have succeeded in going after the younger, healthier people of the world, but don't you worry! We are coming to get you Alzheimer's and when we do get you, we are going to mess you up really bad.  We are putting on our battle gear and will find a cure as well as treatments. Alzheimer's, you cannot take away HOPE and the amazing stories of bravery like the Ken's whom are living with the disease who are now opening up and talking about it. 

I got the pleasure of meeting Ken & his wife Nikki by chance through Hilarity for Charity, the Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller foundation that raises money and awareness for Alzheimer’s.  Ken’s story is heart breaking to watch and hear what he and his family are going through day to day.  Ken and his family share their journey because as Ken said to me in person "Anything I can do to help."
Kennedy
Santa Monica Pier
Copyright: BMW Photography
This past fall, the day of the Hilarity for Charity event 2016 http://hilarityforcharity.org/ I got the honor of doing a photo session with Ken and his family.  We also did photos of his beautiful daughter Kennedy whom is graduating High School this year.  (Congrats Kennedy! Your parents are very proud of you. And your beautiful inside and out.) 

Where do you go for an awesome photo shoot in Los Angeles? The Santa Monica Pier.  The images I am sharing in this story are from the session that day. I am looking forward to doing a follow up photo shoots with Ken and his family from time to time, so don't you worry, you will be seeing more of this amazing, strong family!


Ken wasn't one bit shy during our session. I enjoyed getting some beach shots of him and his wife Nikki. They had Ken's service dog Bella with him. She never leaves his side and is pretty darn cute.



I sent a series of questions too Ken and his wife.  Of course now as I go through the questions I have others that I have thought of. Thankfully this is only the first interview.


Ken, Bella &  Nikki Dodson
Santa Monica Pier
Copyright: BMW Photography
Ken lives in Michigan with his wife and their 4 kids, ages 17, 10, 5 and 4.  Ken is not really into sports unless his kids are playing them, but he does not make it to many sports events anymore. I imagine a sports event could be very overwhelming to a person that has Alzheimer’s. Too many noises and activities.  Ken does like to tinker around in the garage and drive on his tractor. I have this visual of him driving a John Deere tracker with a big smile on his face.  I have to get a photo of this when I go to his home town. 
He doesn’t recall when he first noticed something was wrong. Nikki's response to this question made me laugh because when you are going through an awful life changing crappy thing, the best way to deal with it is through laughter.  I asked her when she first noticed something didn't seem right. She said "Right after we got married! The joke in our family was he married me and lost his mind, lol! But his personality started to change, he was forgetting things and having severe headaches." 

Ken finally went to the doctor and his wife was with him for every appointment. It was a blessing Nikki was there with him because the doctors kept telling them that Ken was depressed and stressed. Nikki was a great advocate for her husband and pushed the doctors to do more extensive testing to find the answers to what was really going on with Ken.


Mr. & Mrs. Dodson with Bella
Santa Monica Pier
Copyright: BMW Photography
Ken felt like a human guinea pig as they ran many tests on him until they were able to make a diagnose.  He was actually diagnosed in 2009 which means Ken was 30.  30, that number is mind boggling... I just cannot fathom the idea of hearing that at the age of 30. Your life is in the middle of its movies plot line and BAME, you have Alzheimer's, WTF?

With no family history of Alzheimer's, Ken is now the first person in his family to be diagnosed with the disease. Together they shared the news with their kids. Nikki said to me, "It's a learning process for us all."
Nikki was inspired to talk about being her husbands caregiver because people kept telling her telling her the word "no" and then they told her if she wanted better quality care for him she should divorce him and walk away. This was the man she married. She was not about to give up on him. The hardest part of the caregiver job is losing her husband and herself most days.  Ken isn't the same man she married. She misses the companionship that comes with a "normal" marriage.  As a caregiver she puts everyone's needs in front of her own as the family looks to her for help. That is a heavy burden to carry. 


It was a life changing moment for the Dodson's to chose to share their story.  Together after Ken was diagnosed  they chose to go public with it.  Today Ken is blessing others by talking about his diagnoses of living with Alzheimers at his young age. With the help of his wife’s encouragement Ken opened up. He doesn’t want his kids to go through what he is going through. Going public has led to several national opportunities including meeting Lauren Miller-Rogen and Seth Rogen.  The Rogen's also encourage him and his family to share their story in a way he and his family wanted too in a documentary called "This is Alzheimer's". https://www.crowdrise.com/ThisisAlzheimers
(Click on the link to see a brief clip of the documentary.) 


Ken with Bella
Santa Monica Pier
Copyright: BMW Photography
He fears of losing his family as his memories fade. He will never lose his family. I see them being with him every step of the way, he just won’t be able to see them there.  He is not the only one suffering with this fear of losing his family. His family fears they will lose him, and eventually they will.  It truly is one of the most heart breaking ways to watch a person leave this life to go to the next one.  Millions of people right now are losing their loved one to Alzheimer’s and not in the sense of the person dying instantly, they are losing the person they love over the period of years before the person passes this life to go on to their next journey.  Its starts with the loss of memories, than moves on to motor skills like talking, walking, eating, etc. I watched this with my grandma over a ten 10 year period. I have know others that have watched family members for 15 to 20 years before they finally pass away.  In a rarity I have met people that have had a loved one with early onset Alzheimer's where their loved one died within 3 years. 

Nikki's has fears too when it comes to Alzheimer's.  Her biggest fear is not being able to grow old with her partner while sharing the lasting memories of a life together.  She won't have those to share with her best friend.  Graduations, college, heartbreak, marriage, grand-babies.  The disease is robbing her of something that some many others get the advantage of having over the period of their life time.


Writing out Ken's fear and reading his fear makes me think of my grandma Bev and all the other individuals who are suffering from Alzheimer's.  Then one day while thinking of grandma Bev I thought to myself how scary would it be to wake up one day and not know where you are.  You do not know who you are. You don’t know your name, you don’t understand why people are telling you to do things that you no longer understand doing, like eating or dressing.  This is the first time I put myself into her shoes, their shoes.  These beautiful people that are living through this each day while they fade a little more.  This is where bravery is given to the Ken's of the world. They openly know part of their fate and they choose to be a voice. They are standing up to Alzheimer's.  Ken had said to me in person "It's for my kids."
Right now Ken's favorite memory that he can currently recall is being home with his family.   When he is having a bad day his wife helps calm him down or he enjoys listing to some gospel hymns music.
Ken Dodson
Santa Monica Pier
Copyright: BMW Photography

Together Ken and Nikki will and are making a mark on Alzheimer's. They are messing it up! They are fighting back.  They are doing so because they want young people to know they can make a difference. "We are ordinary people, making an extraordinary difference! Be the voice for our loved ones, be the voice for those who can't, be the voice for your rights to continue to live life with a horrible disease, don't let the disease live your life for you." Amen girl! Amen! 


Stay tuned for more interviews to come. 




#ENDALZ #REMEMBERMYPHOTO #MEETKEN #ALZHEIMERS #ALZSUCKS




Medical services help Alzheimer's patients

I saw this on KNRV New 4, one of my Reno local channels.  What a great update! I am thrilled to hear this news of Medicare services being approved for Alzheimer's patients in Reno, Nevada. Great job. More can be done, but this is a great next step. Doctors and nurses will be reimbursed for sitting down with patients and there families to go over services for their loved ones. 41,000 people are living with Alzheimer's in Nevada right now.



Medical Services help Alzheimer's patients
By: Alexandria Cannito
As of January 1st, Centers for Medicare Services approved new medical services for Alzheimer's patients.
Families living with Alzheimer's disease or Dementia will have more access to medical planning services.
If diagnosed with the disease, a medical physician or nurse will be reimbursed to sit down with the patient, as well as their family, to discuss non-medical options. They will also discuss local resources that are available.
The Alzheimer's Association offers resources around the clock.
http://www.alz.org/norcal/


#ENDALZ #BEVERLYJEAN #REMEMBERMYPHOTO

Monday, January 23, 2017

Get Your Rivet Revolution Alzheimer's Bracelets

My Rivet Revolution Bracelets
Get Your Rivet Revolution Alzheimer's Bracelets!

I recently received my Rivet Revolution Alzheimer's bracelets. Not only are they beautiful they are really well hand crafted. They come in several different colors including white, black, purple, orange, green and brown.  I have a set of one of each color. Often times I wear the whole stack together. I love the charm that is on the bracelet. It has the Rivet Revolution logo on one side and the End Alzheimer's on the other side. 


Sarah my golden retriever sporting my bracelets.

















The company was created by three women. They created Rivet Revolution as a way to empower families who have been affected by Alzheimer's wile helping raise funds for research on Alzheimer's. You can go to their main website, or you can check them out of 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rivetrevolution/?fref=ts

Twitter https://twitter.com/rivetrevolution

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/rivetrevolution/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/rivetrevolution/?eq=Rivet%20re&etslf=4743

And you can always go to their main website to order your very own Rivet Revolution bracelets. https://www.rivetrevolution.com/

They have also joined forces with Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller's Hilarity for Charity. There booth was at the event last year for the annual fundraiser. http://hilarityforcharity.org/

I am looking forward to meeting these lovely woman some time this year. In the mean time I am sporting my awesome bracelets and staying hip on my style. 


#ENDALZ #REMEMBERMYPHOTO #BEVERLYJEAN



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Reason for my Missing In Action-Blog Post

Hi Everyone,

I haven't posted on my blog in a while and I apologize for that. Last month on December 11, 2016 my dad died unexpectedly. I did not find out until Tuesday, December 13, 2016 when his best friend called me.  It has been a lot to process. This comes 3 years after I buried his mother.
http://www.idahocountyfreepress.com/obituaries/2016/dec/21/barry-westlake/

His mother is the reason I am passionate about finding a cure for Alzheimer's while raising awareness. She and I were very close. Her side of the family has always said to me, "Your mother, oh wait, oh yeah your grandma. We just always saw you with her. She was like your mom." Yes she was.. And she was a great mom when she was a mom. But somethings you can not help and that is how others will turn out when they grow up. She helped raise me. I cared for her as she cared for me till the end of her life. Her son was in denial till the day she died and would not and could not care for her. He did not have the capacity to do so on many levels both mentally and legally.

Dads remains in a box.. I picked him
up the day after Christmas.
My father was an only child. I am also my dads only child.  Unfortunately he suffered from addiction pretty much from the time he was in college until his death at the age of 66. His drugs of choice were Heroin and most recently "speed" as he put it on paper. He also was a heavy alcoholic.  He would be clean for a while and then he would put himself on a path of self destruction.  I will never know why and I will never understand it because I sit on the opposite side of addiction.

The main cause of his death was being septic.  There were five other causes of death listed on his death certificate. Its very sad and anger-some to me because it feels like a wasted life. My own mother has been very compassionate and has reminded me he was also mentally ill, suffering from bipolar and manic depression; however I struggle to wrap my head around all of it.

In many ways I am glad it is over. I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop for some time, but in other ways I am sad that this was the only child my grandma had and he didn't do anything with his life.  Some people say to me "He had you, that is something." I am still trying to figure out how I actually feel about that.   He was very creative and loved education. He could build just about anything and could restore any car.   He had many visions but could not see a project through.  I imagine most of that had to do with his mental abilities.  I stopped talking to my father in 2014 because he began using again and I couldn't take the scary Barry that came with his usage. Angry, rage, violence. I had to protect my family.

His father is still alive today. My family and I will be flying out in March to help him celebrate his 90th birthday.  My Grandpa, my father and I all celebrated our birthdays days apart from one another and in generational order.  It was hard to call my grandpa and tell him his only son had died.  We both cried together.  But he also felt a sense of relief too because it most likely isn't fun to battle your own demons like that in your head. "Us" being on the other side of things, it was equally as hard for both him and I. My grandfather spent years trying to help. Getting him into treatment.  Finally he had to give up too.  I  found comfort knowing the two of them had been chatting on the phone recently. Then grandpa said "he wasn't straight on the phone, but we had a couple nice chats."

How I found out about my dad dying has also been disturbing and very sad. To see how he was living was hard.  I spent 5 days sorting through his things, paperwork, etc.  Barry was given one last opportunity to thrive and instead 3 years later managed to destroy a lot and finally make his journey from this life to the next permanent.

Death is never easy, no matter the circumstances. It just feels as though his suffering in the end was pretty intense and it was self inflicted.
A brief visit with my dad in 2012 after his mom died.

I am trying to see the cup half full and that would be that I have a life that I live every day to the fullest.  I always try to stay upbeat and positive. I have over come so many obstacles includes pre-stomach cancer. I am an advocate for his mother and share my story of her story of her long battle with Alzheimer's.   I am a mom to a wonderful little boy who has more energy than me most days. I am a wife and I am very good at my role of managing the house along with working full time. I love my job. I love having my own photography business.
I have many blessings to be thankful for today, tomorrow and in the future. I only wish individuals like my dad could see the potential they had in the skills they were blessed with instead of throwing it away on addiction while hurting themselves and there loved ones in the process.

At the top I have included the link to my fathers obituary that I put together.

Thank you for allowing me to share this with you all.



Monday, January 16, 2017

PBS to air Alzheimer's, Every Minute Counts

I will be tuning in for this premier. I hope you will too.
Premiering January 25, 2017 at 10pm ET

Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts is an urgent wake-up call about the national threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Countspremiering January 25, 2017, at 10pm ET, is an urgent wake-up call about the national threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease. Many know the unique tragedy of this disease, but few know that Alzheimer’s is one of the most critical public health crises facing America. This powerful documentary illuminates the social and economic consequences for the country unless a medical breakthrough is discovered for this currently incurable disease. 
Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts is produced by TPT National ProductionsCorporate funding is provided by Home Instead Senior Care. Major funding is provided by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. Additional funding by the Helen Daniels Bader Fund, a Bader Philanthropy; the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund; Charles M. Denny, Jr.; and Ellie Crosby - The Crosswols Foundation. Key project partners include the Alzheimer's Association, National Partner; and Dementia Friendly America, Community Partner.

http://www.pbs.org/tpt/alzheimers-every-minute-counts/home/?WT.mc_id=enews2017_01_18&utm_source=enews-aff-20&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=enews-2017-01-18