Study shows startling Alzheimer's statistics, why are the numbers so high?


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 19 at 6:41 PM

(WHAS11) -- A new study reveals that one in three seniors die of Alzheimer's or  Dementia. Why are the numbers are sky rocketing,  especially here in Kentuckiana?

WHAS11's Claudia Coffey talked with a Crestwood couple battling the disease every day.

On the outside, life seems pretty normal for Barbara and Al Webb of Crestwood. But two years ago, life as they knew it took a dramatic turn. They had retired to Florida, living the dream when Barbara and her children started noticing subtle, then drastic changes with Al's memory

"At first it was things like not keeping his calendar  straight. 'Did I have a meeting today or didn't I?' Or he would repeat it to me a couple of times," Barbara Webb said.

Tests revealed Al had early stages of Alzheimer's. Al says it's been tough to accept the news.

"I think I noticed it, I just didn't want to uncover it, " Al Webb said.

Barbara and Al are not alone. In Kentucky it’s estimated that 80,000 people have Alzheimer's. That number in the next 10-12 years expected to jump to 97,000.

A new study by the Alzheimer's Association reveals that Alzheimer's deaths continue to skyrocket, increasing 68 percent nationwide and 73 percent in Kentucky, over the last ten years alone.

In 2010, there were 1,464 Alzheimer's deaths in Kentucky and 1,940 in Indiana.

"People are finally realizing that Alzheimer's is not a natural aging process. As we do get older we do get more forgetful. We don't become senile or hardening of the arteries, these things we used to describe as normal aging, " Teri Shirk, the  Executive Director Greater KY and Southern Indiana Chapter Alzheimer's Association said.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are new medicines to help ease the symptoms. Barbara and Al say the simple love and help they get from family and friends has been a lifeline.

"My partner in crime here has just been fantastic . So we have walked through it slowly but we are getting there," says Webb

Like so many others living with Alzheimer’s,  they too hope one day there will be a cure.

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