Spotlight on the Alzheimer’s Association’s First Survivor Campaign

Approximately 5.8 million seniors are living with Alzheimer’s disease, equating to 10% of the population, according to statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association. The First Survivor campaign is a nationwide program presented by the organization with the goal of raising awareness about the condition and inspiring the American public to join in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease has no cure

To date, no single treatment has been identified to effectively prevent the progression of the disease. As of yet, there are no survivors of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association’s mission is to find a cure.

The concept of the First Survivor campaign reflects the hope that progress can be achieved through the actions of Alzheimer’s Association supporters with a focus on raising funding for research, spurring scientific breakthroughs, and advancing public policy with regard to this debilitating and incurable condition.

Today in America, one in three people over 65 dies due to dementia

Forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease kill more people than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.

Today in America:

  • Alzheimer’s costs the nation approximately $305 billion. Analysts estimate that by 2050, this figure could rise to $1.1 trillion.
  • In the United States, Alzheimer’s disease has grown to become the sixth leading cause of death, affecting 5 million citizens, a figure that is predicted to rise to nearly 14 million by 2050.
  • 82% of primary care physicians report providing frontline dementia care, with half admitting that that the medical profession is ill-equipped to deal with the growing number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
  • Caregivers have provided more than 18 billion hours of care to Alzheimer’s patients, with a value estimated at nearly $244 billion.

Alzheimer’s disease affects some demographics disproportionately

Two out of three Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are female. The disease is twice as likely to occur in older African Americans as compared to Caucasians.

The condition is also more prevalent in the Hispanic community. Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to be affected by Alzheimer’s as compared to the white community.

Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased significantly in recent years

Medical advancements have improved understanding of a variety of chronic and life-threatening diseases, leading to the development of effective treatments and even a cure for some.

For example, clinical understanding of heart disease has increased exponentially, paving the way for improved treatments, leading to a 7.8% reduction in deaths caused by heart disease between 2000 and 2018.

During the same period, deaths caused by Alzheimer’s disease increased by a staggering 146%. Among 70-year-olds living with Alzheimer’s today, 61% are expected to die before reaching the age of 80, as compared with 30% of the population that is not affected. People ages 65 or older typically live between four and eight years following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, although some can live as long as 20 years with the condition, reflecting the disease’s uncertain progression.

83% of care for older patients comes from friends, family or unpaid caregivers

Almost half of all US caregivers are assisting someone affected by Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. 66% of dementia caregivers live with the patient, and two out of three caregivers are women.

One in four caregivers represent the “sandwich generation,” meaning that they have a child to care for, as well as their parent.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides support for people with Alzheimer’s disease

The Alzheimer’s Association is the nation’s leading health organization in terms of care, support, and research into Alzheimer’s disease, assisting not only people with the condition, but also their caregivers and families. The Alzheimer’s Association also provides advisory services to government, organizations, medical professionals, and the public at large.

The Alzheimer’s Association invests heavily in global research, driving early detection, risk reduction, and maximizing quality support and care. As the largest nonprofit funder of research into Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s Association is committed to supporting pioneering research into prevention, treatment, and ultimately a cure for the condition.

In addition to investing heavily in care and research, the Alzheimer’s Association is a leading voice in terms of advocacy, increasing awareness of the condition at both the state and federal level, as well as fighting for critical care initiatives and research. Its educational programs, which are available to the general public both in-person and online, present information on a variety of issues related to the condition, including diagnosis; early warning signs; and advice on helping people with the condition, including caregiving tips and techniques.

The Alzheimer’s Association drives bipartisan support for dementia research funding. In 2020, dementia research funding at NIH reached $2.8 billion, due in part to efforts by the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Alzheimer’s Association invites the American public to become involved with the cause, whether as patrons, fundraisers, or volunteers. The organization’s website provides information on upcoming events, such as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, The Longest Day, and the Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch.

About Mark Stevens

Mark Stevens

Based in Menlo Park, California, Mark Stevens is a venture capitalist with three decades of experience investing in the technology industry. Currently, he serves as managing partner of S-Cubed Capital and as a special limited partner of Sequoia Capital.  Continue.