Category Archives: Opinion/Musing

Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures



An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, including approximately 200,000 individuals younger than age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

Almost two-thirds of American seniors living with Alzheimer’s are women. Of the 5 million people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s in the United States, 3.2 million are women and 1.8 million are men.

The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will escalate rapidly in coming years as the baby boom generation ages. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease.


More than 500,000 seniors die each year because they have Alzheimer’s. If Alzheimer’s was eliminated, half a million lives would be saved a year.

Alzheimer’s is officially the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older. However, it may cause even more deaths than official sources recognize. It kills more than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.

Deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 68 percent between 2000 and 2010, while deaths from other major diseases decreased. Alzheimer’s disease is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed

Impact on Caregivers

In 2013, 15.5 million family and friends provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias – care valued at $220.2 billion, which is nearly eight times the total revenue of McDonald’s in 2012.

More than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are women.

All caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s – both women and men – face a devastating toll. Due to the physical and emotional burden of caregiving, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional health care costs of their own in 2013. Nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high, and more than one-third report symptoms of depression.

Cost to the nation

Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive condition in the nation. In 2014, the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer’s will total an estimated $214 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Despite these staggering figures, Alzheimer’s will cost an estimated $1.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) in 2050.

Nearly one in every five dollars spent by Medicare is on people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The average per-person Medicare spending for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is three times higher than for those without these conditions. The average per-person Medicaid spending for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is 19 times higher than average per-person Medicaid spending for all other seniors.

The financial toll of Alzheimer’s on families rivals the costs to Medicaid. Total Medicaid spending for people with Alzheimer’s disease is $37 billion and out-of-pocket spending for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated at $36 billion.

Women and Alzheimer’s

Women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s crisis. A woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is 1 in 6, compared with nearly 1 in 11 for a man. As real a concern as breast cancer is to women’s health, women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s during the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.

Not only are women more likely to have Alzheimer’s, they are also more likely to be caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s. More than 3 in 5 unpaid Alzheimer’s caregivers are women – and there are 2.5 more women than men who provide 24-hour care for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Because of caregiving duties, women are likely to experience adverse consequences in the workplace. Nearly 19 percent of women Alzheimer’s caregivers had to quit work either to become a caregiver or because their caregiving duties became too burdensome.

*The Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures includes a special report on women and Alzheimer’s. Inspired by compelling findings published in The Shriver Report in 2010, the Alzheimer’s Association conducted a follow-up poll in 2014 to continue exploring how Alzheimer’s disease affects American women.

Feeding America – Go Orange Campaign

Take Action Against Hunger This September and Go Orange

Facebook Icon - I Am Feeding America - Hunger Action Month 2013September is Hunger Action Month, when the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks unites to urge individuals to take action in their communities.  The goal of Hunger Action Month is to mobilize the public to act on behalf of Feeding America and our food bank network. It is our opportunity to create a movement throughout September that has a real and lasting impact on our mission to help end hunger in America.
This September, join the Vermont Foodbank, Feeding America and Together, We Can Solve Hunger™. As individuals, charities, businesses and government, we all have a role to play in getting food to those in need.

Take Action to Help Solve Hunger

How can you help? This September, we are asking you to take simple actions.


Take Action Online:

Take Action In Your Community:

  • Display the Go Orange poster at your business.
  • Wear orange on September 5th.
  • Volunteer at the Vermont Foodbank
  • TAKE the 3SquaresVT/SNAP Challenge and live on just $4.50 a day, the daily average per person benefit.
  • Sell limited edition orange Vermont Foodbank euro stickers for $1 and help create 3 meals for your neighbors in need.

Go Orange Campaign

Are you are a business or organization interested in Going Orange during September? Orange is the color of the anti-hunger movement.  To show their support in the fight against hunger during Hunger Action Month, business owners and organizations in cities and towns across America will Go Orange for the month of September. Here are some ways you can get involved.

  • Sell Orange: Businesses can sell limited edition orange Vermont Foodbank bird stickers for $1.  Each purchase will help the Foodbank provide 3 meals for our neighbors in need.
  • Use Orange: Businesses can decorate their storefronts and display windows in the coloe orange to show their support in the fight against hunger.
  • Share Orange: Use an orange profile or cover photo on your Facebook page for the month of September.  Also make sure to “like” the Vermont Foodbank and share our Hunger Action updates to help spread the word.
  • Wear Orange: Join food banks and businesses nationwide in taking action against hunger by wearing orange on Thursday, September 5th.

If you are a business or organization interested in Going Orange during September, please complete the Go Orange Form or download the form here. Stephani Kononan, our Marketing & Promotions Manager, will follow up with you soon.  If you have questions, contact her at or 802-477-4121.

The following Vermont businesses participated in previous Go Orange Campaigns:

* indicates 2013 participants

Antique Mansion B&B, Rutland*
Bagitos Bagel and Burrito Café, Montpelier*
Barre Opera House, Barre*
Bear Pond Books, Montpelier*
Bob’s Camera & Video, Barre*
Brattleboro Food Co-op, Brattleboro*
Buch Spieler, Montpelier*
Burrows Specialized Sports
Capital Stationers, Montpelier*
Central Market, Rutland*
Clean Slate Café
Coffee Corner
Coffee Exchange, Rutland*
Dewey Cafeteria at Vermont College of Fine Arts
Elliot Street Café
Espresso Bueno, Barre*
Exile on Main Street, Barre*
First in Fitness, Berlin*
First in Fitness, Montpelier*
Global Gifts, Montpelier*
Grafton Village Cheese Co.
Kitchen Sync, Brattleboro*
La Brioche Bakery and Café, Montpelier*
Linden Gardens, Brattleboro*
Mad Taco, Montpelier*
McGillicuddy’s, Montpelier*
Montpelier Pharmacy, Montpelier*
National Life Group Cafeteria
NECI on Main, Montpelier*
New England Culinary Institute’s Administrative Office, Montpelier*
Once Upon a Time Toys, Stowe*
One More Time
Onion River Kids, Montpelier*
Onion River Sports, Montpelier*
Paramount Center, Rutland*
Petals & Things
Pinky’s on State, Montpelier*
Postive Pie 2
Rivendell Books, Montpelier*
Rubber Bubbles
Salaam Boutique
Shin La Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Brattleboro*
Simply Subs, Barre*
Simply Subs, Montpelier*
Sovernet Communications, Bellows Falls*
Sweet Melissa’s, Montpelier*
Tattersall’s, Rutland*
The Book Garden
The Knitting Studio
The Shoe Horn Boutique, Montpelier*
The Works Bakery Café
Three Penny Taproom
Vermont Artisan Designs, Brattleboro*
West Hill Shop
Woodbury Mountain Toys, Montpelier*
Zutanos Children’s Clothing

From the HopPress: Prohibition… FAIL!

From the HopPress: Prohibition... FAIL!


My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, April 9th.

This last week marked the anniversary of the beginning of the end of Prohibition; an event that is celebrated, nationally, in the form of New Beer’s Eve and National Beer Day. In celebration of this annual event, I think that it is worth a look back at the “whos, whys and wheres” of Prohibition, sometimes called the“Nobel Experiment”, the counterculture that it invoked and why it was such a complete and total failure.

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Happy Days Are Here Again...

From the HopPress: Beers of the Full Moon

From the HopPress: Beers of the Full Moon

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, March 19th.

Today, March 19th, the earth’s only moon will reach its closest point to earth (221,565 miles) in nearly 19 years. For those of you lucky enough to be able to see it, this so called “supermoon” will be, according to NASA, about 18% bigger and 30% brighter than the average full moon that we are all accustomed to seeing each month. The moon travels in an elliptical orbit about the earth and each month has both a maximum distance from the earth (it’s apogee) and a minimum distance (it’s perigee). Tonight’s full moon coincides with the closest perigee of the 19-year long full moon cycle… and it is going to look spectacularly like nearly every other full moon you have ever seen. Sorry to get your hopes up…

Enough with the science lesson as the real question to be answered here today is whether or not full moons, not to mention the unusual full moon this month, can contribute to better beer? There is much folk lore about the supposed benefit and detriment of full moons; such as the benefit of planting or harvesting of crops or the supposed rise in crime or mental illness (lunacy?) that may occur during these events. Why not suppose that this lunar cycle can affect the beer as it is being brewed?

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From the HopPress: Beers of the Full Moon

From the HopPress: Just a little bit different…

From the HopPress: Just a little bit different...

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, February 19th.

I had a couple of things come across my desk this week that got me thinking about beer that some might consider to be a little bit to the left (or right) of center. I am talking about beer that most would consider “unusual”; not the typical hops, malt and yeast lineage that the vast majority of the beer that we all drink can be categorized as. These are beers that I would consider to be unusual because of their name, ingredients or marketing approach. I feel compelled to make the disclaimer that I have not tried very many of these beers mentioned in this article… but I would want to, just for the pure novelty of having done so.

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From the HopPress: Mmmm… Chocolate!

From the HopPress: Mmmm... Chocolate!

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, February 12th.

While I would not necessarily consider chocolate beer to be a “seasonal selection”, it does fit in quite nicely with the rapidly approaching Valentine’s Day. I thoroughly enjoy all types of chocolate… milk, dark and white… in the virtually endless ways that they can be served. So, as a bit of a celebration of of this “holiday”, I thought that I would profess my undying love for some of my favorite chocolate beers and then passionately whisper a few sweet nothings to you about some foods that I think make for nice cozy cuddling with these tasty brews. All in good fun, mind you…

Some of you might be shocked to hear that not all beer that has “chocolate” in its name actually has real chocolate as an ingredient, but there are certainly some very excellent exceptions to that, as you will see. Many of these beers, in fact, get that name from the flavor imparted by the darkly roasted malt actually called chocolate malt. Not as dark (starts at about 300ºL) as the darkest malts , like black patent, chocolate malt retains some of the nutty and/or mild coffee flavors that most beer drinkers associate with porters or stouts. In the proper proportions with other ingredients and with the right care and handling during the brewing process, this malt can definitely contribute to a quite distinct chocolate flavor in the beer that I really enjoy.

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From the HopPress: A Brewer’s Best

From the HopPress: Made in Vermont - A Brewer's Best

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, January 22nd.

Like many of you, keeping up with the deluge of e-mails, RSS feed articles, Facebook pages or people, tweets and the like can be pretty overwhelming at times. I sort through hundreds and hundreds of them each week and that does not even begin to include what I see at work during the same period of time. Some of this, of course, I bring upon myself through my insistence on subscribing to as many beer-related sites, pages and newsletters as possible in order to keep my pulse on this beloved industry and I must admit that it is a “burden” that I will continue to willingly bear!

Earlier this week I received a “Friend of Harpoon” newsletter, which is distributed by the folks at Harpoon Brewery. “Friend of Harpoon” is a fan club of sorts for people who enjoy Harpoon’s fine selection of beers; which I definitely do. As a club member, you are entitled to the newsletter, of course, which contains a listing of upcoming Harpoon events and special news about just about everything else Harpoon-related. They even issue a membership card to their “Friends”, which can be used to collect member-only discounts at events and at the Harpoon company stores… but I digress. This particular edition of the newsletter also contained an announcement of the 35th beer to be released in Harpoon’s “100 Barrel Series” of beers; a rebrew/reformulation of a previously released beer, called Catamount Maple Wheat, which was also #26 in the series.

My interest in this beer was not so much its imminent release (early February), though I did like it the first time they produced it, but it really got me to thinking about other brewers that have their own special series of beers that they distribute only seasonally, at odd times (when the whim strikes them) or on an annual schedule. As I poked around on Ratebeer, I first discovered that there are, in fact, quite a number of brewers that do this and, secondly, some the beers in these “brewer’s best” series of beers are some of my favorite beers from those brewers.

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From the HopPress: Joyeux Noël

From the HopPress: Joyeux Noël

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, December 25th.

A very happy holiday to everyone. Hopefully you were on the “good list” and got or will get a wonderful present from someone today. It’s a cold one here in Vermont this morning; only about 6F at my house, but I am sure that there are colder places around. I am listening to the rest of my family waking up on this Christmas morning and coming down stairs to the smell of my wife, Candy, beginning to cook breakfast in the kitchen… the heavenly smell of bacon being predominant, of course, but the coffee is running a close second at the moment.

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From the HopPress: Joyeux Noël