Autism Album Debuts

Last spring, I invaded these columns to tell about a local autism awareness music project, SingSOS!, that had been invited to perform at the United Nations. That was a high point on a long and winding road that has now led — at last! — to the release of the “Songs of the Spectrum” album in time for the holidays.

The album features original songs about autism, featuring performances by artists like Jackson Browne, Dar Williams, Marshall Crenshaw and other top names. The music is packaged with a shelf’s worth of handpicked autism resources, including excerpts from books by leaders in the field, all in electronic form.

We have also hit upon what we hope is an innovative distribution model. We have invited nonprofits serving the Autism Spectrum Disorders community to register, and are giving donors the choice of where their money goes.

Via Autism Album Debuts

Alzheimer’s caregivers overlooked by policy-makers

The job of caregiver is one of endless struggle, and those who work with Alzheimer’s caregivers say it is a struggle that is too often ignored by policy-makers. Now, with experts predicting a surge in the number of Alzheimer’s cases in the coming decades, advocates worry that the needs of patients and caregivers could overwhelm the health care system.

“We don’t have enough infrastructure right now to handle what we have,” said Eric Hall, president and chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “If we’re not ready for what we’ve got . . . when do we start building an infrastructure for what we know is coming?”

The six families profiled in Newsday’s recent Alzheimer’s series represent only a tiny fraction of those struggling against the disease while grappling with government services and the health care system.

There are about 5.3 million Americans with Alzheimer’s – 55,000 on Long Island – and nearly 10 million caregivers. Estimates are that by 2050, Alzheimer’s cases will surge to as much as 16 million.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative, fatal disease and the most common cause of dementia. It is most prevalent in those over 85 – where it may strike 1 out of 2 people – but 5 percent to 10 percent of all cases occur in those under 65 in what is called early- or young-onset Alzheimer’s.

There is no cure but researchers hope in the next 10 to 15 years to find new ways to stave off the disease’s progression.

Via Alzheimer’s Caregivers Overlooked by Policy-makers