TEDMED, a multidisciplinary community of innovators and leaders who join together to create a better future in health and medicine, recently hosted a Google+ Hangout web chat: Preparing for the Dementia Tsunami. TEDMED is a champ at bringing together doers and thinkers from a wide variety of disciplines, and this event did just that. Doctors, researchers, caregivers and other experts joined many participants on Twitter and Facebook to discuss the huge increase in dementia that is coming our way.
By 2050, 25 million people will suffer from dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob dementia, Lewy Body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome, mild cognitive impairment, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, dementia or many other forms of this condition that robs us of our memories, our minds and eventually our personalities and finally our lives.
My grandmother had dementia, and my 89-year-old Dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I have also worked with, and loved, so many people with dementia during the past 30 years of my career as music and activities therapist, adult day services administrator and throughout the years I worked for the Ohio Department of Aging and for AARP. In short, dementia has broken my heart so many times and I am determined to have an effect in the treatment and cure of it.
I was thrilled to see TEDMED addressing an issue that is so very dear to my heart ... and my mind. I participated in the chat, and TEDMED invited me to write a post for their blog about my perspective as a caregiver, aging expert and a person with a good chance of developing dementia myself. I wrote about the crisis ahead and how I am approaching it. I hope you'll read my post, Dementia Tsunami Headed Your Way, and follow the great work that TEDMED is doing.
TEDMED holds its next annual event April 16-19 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
How has dementia affected you and your family? If it hasn't yet, eventually it will. It's time to take action now - please join the conversation. Share your experiences here and on my TEDMED blog post.
Photo Credit: Susie McDaniel