For the State of Florida as a whole, 17% of the population is over the age of 65. In Hernando County, 31% is over 65; which is approaching twice the statewide average. The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that among people over the age of 65, one in ten is living with the disease. With a population of 178,500 (2015), it does not take higher mathematics to project that about 5,500 people in Hernando County are living with Alzheimer’s.
But this does not describe the full impact. Care-giving for people with dementia is so exhausting and time consuming, it is not unusual for each person living with the disease to require more than one caregiver. So, including those actually afflicted, there are more than 11,000 directly impacted by the disease. These shocking statistics will only grow as the Baby Boomers move into the 65+ age category.
The impact of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in America will be devastating over the next 20 to 40 years, but even more so to west-central Florida counties with larger senior populations. This is the Alzheimer’s liability that Hernando County will face going forward.
But Hernando County also has an Alzheimer’s asset. Twenty-one years ago, a chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association chose to strike out in its own direction. The Alzheimer’s Association is noted for its prowess in raising funds to support research in search of a cure. But fund-raising to support medical research – as undeniably important as it is – does not benefit caregivers in the here and now who are struggling to find the knowledge and resources to better perform their task.
For this reason, an AA chapter covering eight west-central Florida counties broke away and reinvented itself as the Alzheimer’s Family Organization and dedicated its resources to helping people who are currently caring for someone with dementia. It’s sphere of operations includes Hernando County; in fact, its headquarters are located in Spring Hill, at 461 Mariner Blvd.
We do not have the space here to explain all of the benefits that the AFO offers caregivers. But if you are among those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia, I hope you will consider the AFO your asset and learn about the support it can provide. Call 352-616-0170 now, or check out its web site at www.alzheimersfamily.org. Its mission is to help you, the caregiver for someone living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
If you are a caregiver for someone living with dementia, it is a good idea to learn more about the Alzheimer’s Family Organization because we all deserve the best.