The elderly deal with many afflictions as they age, any number of which could require a stay in a nursing home or long-term care facilities. There could be physical reasons, such as recovering from a fall, recovering from a procedure, or just the fact they need assistance because they are physically incapable of helping themselves. And often overlooked is the fact that mental afflictions can also be the reason for needing a nursing home. Many elderly suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. This can lead to forgetfulness, a propensity to wander, or incidents of panic or violence where someone becomes so confused, among other types of incidents.
The Scope of the Problem
In the United States, as of 2014 approximately 5.2 million Americans suffer from dementia or specifically Alzheimer’s disease. According to alz.org, every 67 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s in the U.S. and Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the country. About a half million people die from Alzheimer’s including 1 in 3 senior citizens. And more crucial to our purposes here, in the year 2013, 15.5 million medical care providers spent nearly 18 billion hours of unpaid care which were estimated at a value of $220 billion, thus representing the crucial need and the substantial expense of paying for healthcare for those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s and dementia affect women especially, as the risk for developing Alzheimer’s in a woman’s 60s is 1 in 6, which statistically is much worse than breast cancer, and 2/3 of Alzheimer’s victims in the U.S. are women. In addition to statistics on those suffering from it, it is notable that 60% of medical caregivers for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s are women. By the year 2050, those above age 65 with Alzheimer’s could rise to 16 million, which is more than three times the current rate. While it does extensively affect the elderly, it is notable that not all elderly people who suffer from dementia, as about 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 suffer from younger-onset Alzheimer’s.
Next March 2015, in Chicago, the American Society on Aging will host the Aging in America Conference, which will be an important event to raise awareness for dementia and Alzheimer’s. It will be an opportunity for attendees to learn from experts on these diseases as well as caregivers who are charged with caring for these patients around the clock.
The legal professionals in this area from Levin & Perconti will also be participating. Partners Steven Levin and Michael Bonamarte, and associate Marvet Sweis, will all present a one hour workshop titled “Long-Term Care Litigation: The Role of the Private Attorney in Enforcing Elder Rights.” The esteemed attorneys from the firm will discuss how the law and justice system deals with abuse and neglect in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, detailing the types of negligence that occur and how victims and their families can commence civil actions as a result. They will discuss these important issues among others in this informative workshop on elder justice.
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