Reagan struggle highlights need for Alzheimer caregiver support

Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Nancy Reagan is best known for her role as America's first lady. But just as important was her role of family caregiver. In 1994, Ronald Reagan publicly announced that he had Alzheimer's. For the next 10 years, Nancy Reagan cared for her husband. She was there as the disease slowly erased the memories and personality of a man who led an incredible life as a Hollywood movie star and later, as an American president. She was there as the disease claimed her beloved Ronnie.

In Alaska, there are approximately 4,000 people with Alzheimer's Disease or related disorders (ADRD). It is estimated that by the year 2010, that number will be more than 6,000. As the number of people affected by Alzheimer's grows, so does the need for more support and assistance for family caregivers. Sadly, Alaska is one of only two states in which a person whose sole diagnosis is Alzheimer's is not eligible for Medicaid assistance for nursing homes or home and community-based services.

The Alzheimer's Disease Resource Agency of Alaska recognizes the difficulties and challenges caregivers encounter on a daily basis. We send our deepest sympathy to Nancy Reagan. We also send our highest admiration to each and every dedicated family caregiver in Alaska.

Dulce Nobre, Executive director

Alzheimer's Disease Resource Agency of Alaska

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