Fighting the Darkness of Alzheimer’s On the Longest Day


4 min read

Fighting the Darkness of Alzheimer’s On the Longest Day


Dementia Caregivers and Family Senior Health and Wellbeing

The summer solstice – it’s the day with the most light… the longest day.

On June 21st, people from around the world will mark the occasion by shining a light on Alzheimer’s – honoring those living with the disease and their caregivers, for whom every day is the longest day.

Did you know:

  • More than six million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is projected to reach 12.7 million.
  • Almost two-thirds of American’s with Alzheimer’s are women.
  • One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia – it kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
  • Between 2000 and 2019, deaths from heart disease decreased 7.3% while deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 145%.
  • In 2022, Alzheimer’s and other dementias cost the nation $321 billion. By 2050, the cost could rise to more than $1 trillion.
  • More than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. These caregivers provided more than 16 billion hours of care valued at nearly $272 billion.

Personal experience with Alzheimer’s disease is what drives the owners of Bickford Senior Living and HomeCare Advocacy Network.

When Bickford Senior Living’s owners’ mother, Mary Bickford, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Judie and her husband Don Eby began looking for a new home for Mary. The options offered too much or too little assistance – none met her needs and nothing felt like home. Since they couldn’t find what they wanted they decided to create what Mary needed. Don employed his extensive business skills and knowledge, driven by the love he had for his mother-in-law. The song of Mary’s life became a seed. The seed was planted and in November 1992 the Bickford Family Tree sprang forth with the opening of one of the first assisted living residences in Kansas. This Branch became Mary’s new home.

For HomeCare founders Mark and Sierra Goetz, Sierra’s stepmother, Fran, a fitness buff and marathon runner, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at age 49. Sierra’s father, Terry, left his corporate job to become a full-time caregiver – doing whatever it took to keep Fran active and care for her at home. The whole family pitched in to help and quickly learned the power of consistent, compassionate care.

Bickford Senior Living and HomeCare are committed to doing whatever it takes to care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Our professional caregivers are specially trained to provide care designed to help seniors age safely.

To learn how we can help, visit

Bickford Home Care: A member of Bickford Senior Living’s family of companies.

Contemplating the next chapter in your loved one’s story? Click here to learn more about Bickford Senior Living and to find a branch near you.