Eric Schubert

Eric Schubert is a vice president at Ecumen, an innovative nonprofit senior housing and services company based in Shoreview. He oversees communications, branding, public affairs and the Ecumen "Changing Aging" blog (www.changingagingblog.org). He writes about aging and change resulting from it in innovation, how we live, wellness, public policy and beyond.

Do You Want People With Alzheimer's Living Near You?

Posted by: Eric Schubert Updated: December 10, 2012 - 3:33 PM

It’s happened now in at least two Twin Cities suburbs (Minnetonka and Woodbury), residents complaining about having or potentially having people with Alzheimer’s living by them.

Would you be OK having people with Alzheimer’s living in your neighborhood?  Why or why not?

Absent a cure, Alzheimer’s will continue impacting thousands of Minnesotans emotionally and financially.  It’s a disease that raises many questions that have to be solved in Minnesota:

Where do we house people with Alzheimer’s so they live with dignity – not in a warehouse?

How do we ensure they have adequate care, especially when they have no spouse or family? (Many people are living as singles these days or their family has moved elsewhere)

How do businesses deal with workers who are balancing work and caregiving?

How do Minnesotans pay for all of this?  (Right now unless you spend into poverty and qualify for a nursing home Medicaid stay, you pay for your Alzheimer’s care out of your own pocket, which can be hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.)
 

According to the Prepare Minnesota for 2020 Report:

- Between 2010 and 2050, the number of Minnesotans with Alzheimer’s disease will soar from 90,000 to 200,000.

- As Minnesota experiences an historic increase in its older population over the next 40 years, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is expected to double for people ages 75-84 and triple for those over age 85.


- The total cost of care for these individuals could reach an estimated $20 billion per year in Minnesota by 2050, most of that spent in the Medicaid budget for assisted living and nursing home care when families have exhausted their personal and financial resources.

 

Alzheimer's disease does not discriminate against who it affects, should we?  We can do better than simply kicking or keeping people with Alzheimer’s out of our neighborhoods.  With nearly 100,000 Minnesotans living with Alzheimer’s today, we have to.

 

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