Albert “Pops” Zangaro, 71, doesn’t know that Sunday is Father’s Day.
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In 2012, 15.4 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $216 billion.
In 2010, 83,494 Americans died of Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth-leading cause of death for those age 65 and older.
Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America with no cure and no method of prevention.
One in nine people age 65 and older (11 percent) have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple, from 5 million to a projected 13.8 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association, 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures
“It’s hell being a caregiver,” said Atlanta musician Lianne Hutcheson, 31, who nursed her father for two and a half years until he died from Alzheimer’s in 2010.
To help others who’ve had the same challenges, Hutcheson is among the 23 volunteer acts performing at the Alzheimer’s Music Fest, July 28, at Marietta’s 120 Tavern and Music Hall. The event will raise funds to provide “respite care” for caregivers, paying for a few hours of service from a health care professional to give family members a break.
It will be channeled through the Laona M. Kitchen Foundation, an Atlanta nonprofit that is currently helping five families affected by Alzheimer’s. “Our goal is to help 10 families this year and 10 or 20 next year,” said president Gary Kitchen, whose mother suffered from Alzheimer’s.