Alzheimer's Disease in Hard Economic Times

Ken Branum, Alzheimer's Association
Ken Branum, Alzheimer's Association
Herman Goodwin Jr.
Herman Goodwin Jr.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's Disease is very expensive, and the hard economic times are making it more difficult for Panhandle families to financially survive.

The costs of Alzheimer's increases very rapidly just like the progression of the disease. Families I spoke with say if they can not afford to have their loved one in a long term care facility, one family member is having to stop working to provide 24 hour care.

And others are having to tap their savings and take out loans.

Ken Branum of the Alzheimer's Association says, "Many families that are unable and we don't have more facitilies coming in so they are pretty well full. The financial burden yes but if a husband and wife have to take care of mom, dad, granddad, and it becomes such a burden that one of those has to drop out of the workforce."

One local man says his wife was diagnosed at age 59 and had to quit her job. Now four and a half years later Herman Goodwin Jr. says his savings are almost gone and he's had to take out a laon.

"The economic savings has drastically effected the little bit of savings we've been trying to put back."

In addition to the economic struggles Goodwin says most insurance companies will not pay for Alzheimer's care.

"And that's why we cleaned out my wife's IRA to take out a loan," says Goodwin, "and trying to get out and I was trying to get on with what little we have aside for my retirement because I'm gonna need something to live on. But it's been a real struggle. Financially and physically."

The costs of care averages between three and six thousand dollars a month.  More than 20-thousand Texas Panhandle residents are suffering from Alzheimer's.