Colombian family suffers Alzheimer's together

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia afflicts more than 35 million people around the world, and the number of people who suffer from it grows every day, with experts estimating it will eventually reach 115 million by the year 2050. For one family in Colombia, they can see the growth first-hand; they are the world’s largest extended family by number of Alzheimer’s cases.

As reported in the New York Times, about 5,000 members of the extended Betancur family of Medellin, Colombia, share an inherited type of Alzheimer’s, and have suffered for decades, with many of their members developing the disease while their 40s. However, doctors are now hoping to test younger family members for the disease, identify genetic markers, and hopefully prevent it for future generations.

“This information will provide a foundation for knowing how much these brain changes have occurred roughly at the time people at their age will enroll in the trial,” Eric Reiman, of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, told the news source. A number of Betancur family members have traveled to the health clinic in hopes of providing the health information the medical researchers are looking for.

With increasing cases of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, families need to be prepared financially and psychologically for a possibility that a family member may need to move into an Alzheimer’s Care or assisted living community.