LuAnn Lundquist, Executive Director of Memory Matters Utah, shared her experience and knowledge of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia on individuals, families and caregivers. Washington County, UT is facing a community crisis of major proportions! As one of the most attractive and desirable retirement communities in the United States (based on numerous studies in the past several decades), the area in and around St. George has drawn countless numbers of residents over the age of 65, since the 1980’s to enjoy our mild fall, winter and springtime weather; our outstanding and award-winning health care; and, spectacular out amazing outdoor scenery and events. As a result, more and more of our local residents are finding themselves – or their loved ones – dealing with the age-related diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Current estimates indicate there may be as many as 3500 residents in our area who have – but do not as yet know they have – one of these two life-changing medical conditions. As a community, we are seeing a jump in the number of assisted living facilities with memory care units – newly opened or under construction; and, health care providers specializing in Alzheimer’s and dementia issues popping up here in Southern Utah where, by the year 2030 estimates are, more than 31% of our population will be over age 65. Statistics show an average of 10,000 “baby boomers” nationwide will age into Medicare – every day - until 2030. Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George’s Intermountain Health Care facility already has more than 50% of their patients on Medicare – with an expected increase by 60% in additional Medicare patients in the next 13 years.
To address the unmet needs of our community’s rapidly growing Alzheimer’s and dementia population, the organization now known as Memory Matters Utah was organized “to reduce isolation and improve wellness for people with dementia and their caregivers through activities, support, education and consultation” for this difficult group of conditions which primarily affect those over age 65.
For more information, call (435) 319-0407.