Letters to the Editor: Dementia is the ‘silver tsunami’ heading for California’s healthcare system

A woman walks behind her mother, who uses a walker in a kitchen
Mariella Rojas helps her mother, Rosa Angelica Saldana, 81, in their Northridge apartment on Sept. 11.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In a 2021 report, the Alzheimer’s Assn. estimated that between 2019 and 2040, the number of Californians living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia will double. One in six people will develop Alzheimer’s, and one in five people will develop another form of dementia. (“Work, school, caregiving. Multiple generations honor a family member while going about their lives,” column, Sept. 23)

Regardless of the type of dementia, all of those afflicted will require intensive care that families may not be able or willing to provide.

In his excellent column about the family caring for 81-year-old Rosa Angelica Saldana, Steve Lopez didn’t mention the costs associated with 24/7 care.


In California, the annual cost from an accredited agency exceeds $300,000 for in-home care, and residential care in one of California’s 1,500 cognitive care facilities costs about $7,000 a month. Many residential facilities do not accept Medicaid, and those that do offer a lower standard of care because of low reimbursement.

Add to that the insufficient supply of caregivers, and we have a crisis facing us. Burying our heads in the sand will not protect us from the silver tsunami heading our way.

Julia Springer, Santa Barbara


To the editor: When I feel like our livable planet and the hope for peace is slipping away, I read Lopez’s column and I know we will all get through these tough times.

His most recent piece tells of the love that one family shows for their aging mother, grandmother and mother-in-law, and reminds us all that compassionate planning and family caretaking are just two ways to hasten the healing of our planet. I’m impressed by how the entire family comes together and shares the heavy load of caring for Grandma Rosa.

Lopez’s writing so often demonstrates his compassion, and this piece was no exception. Thank you, Steve.


Sue Snyder, Laguna Woods