By Kathy Seidel, former managing director/president, The Northern Trust Company, Colorado
Almost every year, someone will ask me why a financial services firm like Northern Trust is committed to supporting the Alzheimer’s Association.
There are a number of reasons. The first is simply my personal passion for the organization and the mission. It has been such a pleasure to work with Linda (Mitchell) and all of the staff in the Denver office for so many years. I know this is a very well run organization.
Also, at Northern Trust, we work very closely with our clients and their families, many of whom have been impacted by dementia. We have seen the emotional and physical toll on family members and caretakers as well as the economic impact.
In regard to the economic impact, I want to share some sobering statistics:
- About 16 million Americans will develop Alzheimer’s between now and mid-century. The cost of caring for them will consume 33 percent of Medicare spending by 2050, which could bankrupt the system.
- Last year, nearly 16 million caregivers provided more than 18 billion hours of unpaid care having an economic value of $221 billion.
- Family caregivers often spend more than $5,000 a year to care for a person with Alzheimer’s. For some, that has little economic impact but, for many, it may mean less food or other necessities.
- In 2016, the cost of Alzheimer’s to the nation is $236 billion. By 2050, the cost will be over $1.1 trillion.
That’s a lot of numbers to digest, but the economic impact to our social systems, to families and to companies, is huge. So it seems to me that we should not be asking why a financial services company is committed to the cause. Instead, we should be asking why ISN’T every major corporation knocking on the doors of its local Alzheimer’s chapter and asking “How can we help?” It is in their own best interests to do so.
It is the support of donors that provides hope that that this disease can be slowed and ultimately cured.