Dementia recently has been deemed the “top public health crisis,” according to multiple reports.
In an October 10, 2019 opinion piece in the Orlando Sentinel, four former U.S. surgeons general—Richard Carmona, MD, Joycelyn Elders, MD, Antonia Novello, MD, and David Satcher, MD—called attention to the rapid rise of the disease.
A 2019 report in the journal Lancet, noted, “Dementia is one of the fastest-growing public health problems,” while a 2017 Lancet Commission report on dementia called it “the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century.”
According to Martin Tolar, MD, PhD, founder, president and CEO of Alzheon, a biopharmaceutical company in Framingham, Massachusetts, health executives should be agile when addressing dementia in a number of ways.
First, businesses should have a sense of urgency about the impact of Alzheimer’s on their employees.
“Either your baby boomers, who you rely on for experience, judgment and calm in a storm, or millennials, who are increasingly getting called upon to care for their aging parents,” Tolar says. “Alzheimer's is not a retiree issue, it’s affecting your current workforce. The damage is going on now in our brains. It’s not something you catch once you are retired.”
He recommends health executives bring cognitive fitness and brain health into workplace programs just as some do cardiovascular fitness.