Dementia’s Impact on Rural Communities

Dementia’s Impact on Rural Communities

Understanding the impact of dementia is essential for shaping dementia-friendly communities and support systems.

Dementia’s impact in the U.S.

Dementia’s impact is a significant public health issue in the United States. It affects millions of individuals and their families.

As of recent estimates, approximately 6.7 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. Barring the development of a medical breakthrough, this number is projected to reach nearly 14 million by 2060.

Dementia not only affects those diagnosed but also places a heavy burden on caregivers. In 2023, more than 11 million Americans provided unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's or other dementias, contributing an estimated 18 billion hours of care valued at $339 billion.

The financial impact on those diagnosed with dementia cannot be ignored. In 2023, the combined national cost of health care, long-term care, and hospice care for these individuals was estimated at $345 billion.

Medicare and Medicaid covered approximately 67% of these costs. The remaining 33% was addressed by care institutions, private insurance, and payments from care recipients.

The challenges in rural communities.

Rural communities face unique challenges in addressing dementia. These challenges include fewer local providers and limited physical and financial access to primary healthcare, specialized care, and other support services.

Limited exposure and access to healthcare and other specialists can delay the diagnosis and treatment of dementia and related conditions. Transportation issues and greater distances further complicate care access.

Unfortunately, rural areas may lack adequate support services for caregivers, such as respite care and support groups. This can lead to increased burden and stress that negatively impacts the caregiver’s health and well-being.

Social isolation, common in rural areas, exacerbates these challenges, making it harder for families to connect with others and utilize available community-based resources.

Dementia’s impact: Bringing it Home

The prevalence of Dementia’s impact is rising, primarily driven by our aging population. Rural communities, which often have more elderly residents, will likely suffer a disproportionate impact.

The challenges created by dementia, along with limited access to care and support services, will require targeted local interventions to ensure equitable care for rural residents.

How is Moultrie County addressing this growing concern?

Dementia Friendly Moultrie County (DFMC) is working to stay ahead of these challenges. We’re organizing to educate the public and foster a greater understanding of dementia-related issues.

Most importantly, we are here to empower persons diagnosed with dementia and their caregivers. We hope to create opportunities for them to connect with each other and their communities. We will also assist them to identify and utilize available resources.

How can you help?

Get involved in one of the following ways:

Watch for updates:
The DFMC leadership team includes representatives from the Moultrie County Health Department, Moultrie County Counseling Center, Mid-IL Senior Services, and the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging.

We will post announcements and upcoming events on our social media pages, websites, and in local newspapers.

Volunteer to be a Community Advocate:
DFMC is looking for individuals interested in helping others and improving their communities. Contact one of our offices for further information or to volunteer. Your community needs you!

Let us know how we can help:
DFMC is here to listen to your suggestions and help address your concerns. Whether you are a person recently diagnosed with dementia, a caregiver, or a concerned citizen looking to help, we look forward to hearing from you.

By addressing our community challenges early, we can create a more supportive and sustainable environment for all individuals affected by dementia throughout Moultrie County. Help us make Moultrie County a dementia-friendly place where everyone can live and thrive.

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