Alzheimer's disease represents a significant threat to the security and enjoyment of our retirement years. According to some experts, by 2050 the number of Americans with Alzheimer's could be as high as 10 million, and the related health care costs may exceed $1 trillion per year.
But lately there's been good news in the fight against this deadly disease. Earlier this week, the Obama administration announced a plan to find effective treatments by 2025 and to improve care for Alzheimer's sufferers. The White House also said this month that it would devote $50 million in 2012 to Alzheimer's research and seek an additional $80 million in funding for fiscal 2013.
Also hopeful is that scientists are finding more ways we can delay, mitigate, and even prevent Alzheimer's through our lifestyle choices, including:
- Keeping our weight to healthy levels and avoiding obesity
- Adopting a low-fat diet, so that cholesterol doesn't clog blood vessels in the brain
- Exercising, which encourages blood flow to the brain
- Getting sufficient sleep
- Maintaining a robust social life and learning new things, so our brain continues to develop new neural connections
Given the significant threat of Alzheimer's to individuals and our society, we should place a "Manhattan Project"-style priority on beating this disease. You can help by placing prevention near the top of your retirement-planning checklist.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto contributor assiseeit