As Alzheimer and dementia cases rise health officials express concern about a lack of care options

  • Scott LaMar
  • Merideth Bucher
Listen to Smart Talk every weekday at 9am and 7pm on WITF 89.5 & 93.3. You can also stream WITF radio live on our website or ask your smart speaker to “Play WITF Radio.”

Airdate: Friday, October 8, 2021

Alzheimer's patient Dorothy Eckert and her husband John Eckert's hold hands at their home in Norristown Pa., Thursday, April 19, 2007. Alzheimer's caregivers seldom can make time in their daily grind to seek out help. And when they do, they too often find waiting lists for services, or programs geared only toward people with advanced disease and not the larger pool in the purgatory that is dementia's decade-long middle ground between independence and helplessness.

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Alzheimer’s patient Dorothy Eckert and her husband John Eckert’s hold hands at their home in Norristown Pa., Thursday, April 19, 2007. Alzheimer’s caregivers seldom can make time in their daily grind to seek out help. And when they do, they too often find waiting lists for services, or programs geared only toward people with advanced disease and not the larger pool in the purgatory that is dementia’s decade-long middle ground between independence and helplessness.

There is a ‘crisis of care’ for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease. The problem is emerging as a public health threat in the U.S. and Pennsylvania doesn’t appear to be ready to face the crisis, either.

In the next 30 years, the number of Americans age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia may grow to 13.8 million. This is a sharp rise from the estimated 5.8 million today.

Caring for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia is a major concern.

According to a recent report by Spotlight PA, Pennsylvania eldercare facilities have dementia-specific accommodations for 17,157 people while there are 280,000 Pennsylvanians over the age of 64 living with dementia.

Joining Smart Talk Friday to discuss how to navigate the future ‘crisis of care’ are Clay Jacobs, Executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Pennsylvania, Adam Marles, president and CEO of LeadingAge PA and Dr. Faina Caplan, MD., with WellSpan Geriatrics.

For more on Alzheimer’s plus a deeper look at the changing tide of healthcare–check out WITF’s Transforming Health. Online at Transforminghealth.org, a partnership of WITF, WellSpan Health and Capital Blue Cross.

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Smart Talk

Forensic science program brings a state-of-the art experience to students