With New Jersey's aging population continuing to increase, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease is also on the rise.

Ken Zaentz, the president and CEO of Alzheimer's New Jersey, says about 10 percent of people over 65 in the state have Alzheimer's disease.

"It is definitely increasing," he said. "We know that the population in New Jersey of people over the age of 65 has actually increased from about 13.5 percent to 15 percent just in the past seven years."

According to Zaentz, we know that age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's, even though getting Alzheimer's is not a normal part of the aging process.

He says many caregivers of Alzheimer's patients have to go it alone, shouldering the burden, and it is tremendously stressful on them.

"Most caregivers are providing care at home, and most of the expenses for their care giving is out of pocket," he said.

"In short, Medicare is not a long-term care system of payment, so caregivers are really shouldering the burden by themselves. We actually need policies in our state that can help relieve the economic stress that caregivers feel that they are experiencing because of the impact of the disease on their finances, let alone the emotional impact of the disease."

Zaentz says Alzheimer's New Jersey is a good source for help for caregivers. The organization, headquartered in Roseland, also has offices in East Brunswick and Oradell. They maintain a toll-free helpline for families dealing with Alzheimer's: 888 280 6055. And on the web, they are: www.alznj.org.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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