In 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
. Coincidentally, 11 years later, Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
The 40th U.S. president revealed his fate
in a letter to the American people in 1994, writing: "I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead."
Reagan’s battle with Alzheimer’s ended nearly a decade later, two years after former first lady Nancy Reagan referred to their struggle as the “long, long goodbye
Alzheimer's growing toll
By revealing their struggle, the Reagans provided a great service by shining a light on Alzheimer’s and its effect on families. Nancy Reagan referred to the experience as a lonely one
Fewer than 2 million people in the U.S. were diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1983. Since then, that statistic has more than doubled
, with 5.8 million people currently living with the most common form of dementia.
No statistic reflects the number of people who are touched by Alzheimer's. A single diagnosis affects spouses, children, friends, and millions of familial and professional caregivers. More than 16 million caregivers in the U.S. provide unpa