I propose the following set of resources be made available to newly diagnosed patients with Alzheimer's, and to undiagnosed family members of patients. The resource would include a health directive that will allow any individual the ability to define the three criteria that when met would signify the moment when they elect to end their life with dignity. The process would be facilitated, perhaps through groups like Zen Hospice or the Palliative Care.
There is plenty of precedent for this kind of action with the advance care directive, and other resources such as Five Wishes. https://agingwithdignity.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/product-samples/fwsample.pdf?sfvrsn=2
The alternative is brutal - Alzheimer's patients, unable to swallow, die of starvation, thirst. Unable to walk, and untreated, the succumb to pneumonia, sepsis from untreated broken bones - all in a concerted effort to not extend life. How can that possibly be more humane?
Care for patients with Alzheimers, often 100% out of pocket, costs between $60,000-$100,000 a year. Unable to bear this financial cost for one year, let alone for 5 or more, caregivers (which are disproportionately women), leave the workforce, costing even more on lost wages and risks to financial well being and stability. Nearly 10 million adult children (66% WOMEN) are caring for older parents in America. The unpaid care they provide is estimated to be worth $375 billion dollars per year in a report by Indiana University. http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/5-hidden-costs-of-family-caregiving/
This is not ok, and we can do better.