The Alzheimer’s Association projects that by 2050, there will be an estimated 13.8 million people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease – an increase from the 5.2 million age 65 and older affected in 2015.
In 2015, 15.9 million family and friends provided 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. That care had an estimated economic value of $221.3 billion.
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is just one example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.
Libraries and librarians need to ask themselves:
- How does this increasing demographic affect our library and community?
- How do we serve this growing population?
- What programs do we currently offer to those with dementia? for their caregivers?
- What resources do we have for those with dementia? for their caregivers?
- Could we add programs, collections, and services to serve this growing, diverse population?
We began a group in Illinois with librarians, managers, and support staff to meet the unique needs of serving the caregivers and those suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s. This group is dedicated to bringing together services and information to better serve this population. We meet regularly to share programming and collection development ideas, marketing tips, and ways to partner with community organizations.
Don’t forget to research your local memory care facilities, state universities, and dementia research organizations.