As older population grows, need for Alzheimer’s cure becomes more pressing

Here at the Colorado Gerontological Society, we are devoted to providing the best care possible to senior citizens. We provide advocacy, information and assistance to Colorado seniors, connecting older patients with physician providers and assisting with Medicare forms.

One in four Coloradans lives with chronic disease, and this number is much higher among seniors. However, life expectancy for these diseases, including cancer and heart disease, have greatly improved thanks to specialty medicines. Today, medications can prevent expensive and invasive treatments like transplants, open-heart surgeries, and dialysis. In fact, studies show that every dollar spent on drug therapies to treat chronic health conditions save patients and the healthcare system money on other expenses, like emergency room visits and hospital care.

One disease which is especially devastating to seniors and their families is Alzheimer’s, the sixth leading cause of death in Colorado. Deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 85 percent since 2000, and 1 in 10 Coloradan seniors suffers from the condition. We have personally witnessed the heartbreaking effects of this disease, which robs seniors of their memories and independence and often leads them to enter costly retirement care early.

As the size and proportion of the population age 65 and older continues to increase, the need for a cure has become even more dire. Thanks to continued support of medical innovation, researchers are making progress and coming closer to finding a cure. The pharmaceutical industry and the Alzheimer’s Association have already spent years of work and tens of millions of dollars on treatments, but it will take even more to bring these drugs to market and save lives. We must continue to support medical innovation so that medical researchers can work as quickly as possible to find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.

This letter to the editor was recently published in The Colorado Statesman, the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Pueblo Chieftain.

About the Author

Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty, MS has been the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society since 1982. She has more than 40 years of experience in education and training, advocacy, clinical practice, and research in the field of gerontology. She is an adjunct instructor at Fort Hays State University teaching non-profit management. She can be reached at 303-333-3482 or at

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