Dear Friend of CTF,
At some point in life, we will unfortunately all experience the death of a loved one. But only those of us with a loved one diagnosed with dementia, or other untreatable neurological diseases, have experienced the death of a loved one who is still living. Those of you who are reading this who are lucky enough to have not dealt with dementia may be confused by this statement – but for those of you – the millions of you – who have witnessed a friend or relative undergo the gradual loss of their mind due to dementia…sadly know exactly what I am talking about. To me, dementia is a slow and painful death – but not of the body…of the mind. So while the person with dementia is still physically living – unfortunately their mind eventually is not. The loved ones of those with dementia must mourn their “mental” deaths while still physically caring for them – despite the fact that they often become unrecognizable, even to those that love them the most.
Sadly, the growing numbers of those affected by dementia – not only here in the US, but globally is staggering. 5 to 7 percent of people over 60 worldwide live with dementia. There are approximately 50 million people currently living with dementia worldwide, increasing to 82 million by 2030 and 152 million by 2050. That’s simply too many people.
The costs associated with this devastating disease is equally staggering. The world-wide cost of dementia care was $604B in 2010, $818B in 2015, and, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International, it is expected to hit $1 trillion this year. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine predicts that the United States’ direct costs alone will reach nearly $129 billion annually by 2020.
But the real cost…is not in statistics – but rather in the loss of an entire generation of wisdom. As a society, we have come to accept – even expect – dementia to occur as part of the natural aging process. Our hair turns grays, we develop bad knees and we develop symptoms of dementia. This is not acceptable. There is absolutely NO medical reason to accept dementia.
I can tell you first hand of the pain that dementia causes not only to its’ victims, but also to their families. Millions of people have broken hearts due to broken futures….all caused because of the “dementia devil” as I call it.
Well, some people did ask me – and I told them. And lucky for me – I was able to meet a handful of others who also have stories to tell about the dementia devil. And these people – like me – had a burning desire to change the outcome of these stories. Hence the birth of Clear Thoughts Foundation (CTF).
As I watch the daily deterioration of my father, who has Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD) and the pain my mother and our whole family suffers from every single day, I have made a lifelong pledge to find a cure for dementia and related neurological diseases. CTF will not rest until we find treatments and a cure for dementia. Until then, we have lots of work to do…so I thank you for helping to fight the fight.