1 Million New Yorkers Provide Unpaid Care For Alzheimer's PatientsPosted: Updated:
Joe Durgin of Philadelphia knows a good song when he hears one - from the Backstreet Boys to having fun with 80s tunes like Take on Me.
And right next to him is Bryn Durgin, his daughter who moved back to the north country when Joe needed a caretaker.
"It's indescribably fulfilling," said Bryn.
Joe went to school and then taught at Indian River for 42 years. He retired once he found out he had Alzheimer's Disease. He was 62.
"My dementia jumps around. It just jumps around," he said.
"It's so common. It's not just an old person's disease," said Bryn.
So common that more than 400,000 New Yorkers have Alzheimer's dementia. More than 1 million people are unpaid caretakers in the state.
A new study from the Alzheimer's Association shows the burden on unpaid caretakers through the hours they spend is valued at a total close to $15 billion.
"We hear from individuals who had left lucrative careers to step back in order to care for their family member," said Catherine James, CEO of the Alzheimer's Association.
Joe shows his appreciation and spirit through drawings - multiple a day.
He and Bryn go everywhere together, from museums to walks in the woods.
"Really the smallest of things can make such a difference," said Bryn.
But she says there's not enough resources for people with dementia in the north country..
"Consider the number of people, versus the number of resources. It doesn't add up," she said.
Luckily for Joe, he has his family and their support to help him though.