Report: One-third of US seniors die with dementia - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Report: One-third of US seniors die with dementia

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Sean O'Grady is one of more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease. His family takes care of him at home.

"He worked so hard. He deserves this from us now," said Kay O'Grady, Sean's wife.

At 68, he is bedridden and he doesn't recognize his wife or daughters.

"It's very hard to watch... I don't know how my mom does it. I know how hard it is for me. I can only imagine how hard it is for her," daughter Siobhan O'Grady said.

According to a new report from the Alzheimer's Association, one in three seniors dies with the mind-destroying disease or another form of dementia.

"Over 80,000 people a year die from Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately many, many more, over 450,000, die with Alzheimer's," said Maria Carrillo, the vice president of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer's Association.

The report found the death rate for Alzheimer's rose 68 percent during the past decade. And unless researchers find a way to prevent it or treat it-- that number is expected to climb even higher. Health care costs are estimated to be $203 billion this year. And then there is the emotional and financial toll the disease takes on the 15 million caregivers.

"He has to be cleaned, he has to be changed, he has to be fed," Kay O'Grady said.

Kay hopes to keep her husband out of a nursing home.

"I want to see the journey through. Keep Sean as comfortable as we can and hopefully that he doesn't suffer," she said.

His daughter has another hope-- she wants a cure.

The report also found 70-year-olds with Alzheimer's are twice as likely to die within 10 years compared to 70-year-olds who do not have the disease. That's because Alzheimer's also breaks down the body, increasing the chances of pneumonia and other life-threatening illnesses.

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