Alzheimer's doesn't run in Seth Rogen's family, but he has been touched deeply by the disease. His fiancée's mother suffers from Alzheimer's — and has had if for several years — though she is only 59. Rogen and his fiancée are part of a CNN special airing on Sunday, hosted by Larry King, called "Unthinkable: The Alzheimer's Epidemic."
The "epidemic" is about to get worse. According to CNN:
About 5.4 million people in the United States suffer from Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association. By the middle of the century, 16 million people are expected to have the condition.
Of course, each of those individuals living with Alzheimer's have friends, family and in-laws who are affected, making the true impact exponential. One of the scariest things about the disease is how it takes a person you know and changes them, and the entire family dynamic. The disease is fatal, but some people suffer for four to eight years — while others can live with it for 20 years. Hence the "unpaid caregivers," aka friends and family, whose lives are turned upside down. Rogen's fiancée, Laura Miller, says that her father takes care of her mother, but it's not without challenges. "He takes her shopping if she needs something to wear. And my dad does not like shopping," Miller says. "I don't think you are 62 years old and, you know, one day out of retirement think that you're going to be taking care of your spouse with Alzheimer's."
It's just sad, all around, and it seems like people don't talk about it much. And as Rogen says: "The biggest misconception is that it's this vague old-people disease that happens to old people."