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Shirley Rexrode, left, assists her father, Hsien-Wen Li, who is an Alzheimer's patient, with his daily walk, in San Francisco, in this photo taken Thursday, Sept, 1, 2011. Dementia is poised to become a defining disease of a rapidly aging population - and a budget-busting one for Medicare, Medicaid and families. The Obama administration is developing the first national Alzheimer's plan to combine research aimed at fighting dementia with help for caregivers.

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Families urge action as US drafts Alzheimer’s plan

As her mother’s Alzheimer’s worsened over eight long years, so did Doreen Alfaro’s bills: The walker, then the wheelchair, then the hospital bed, then the diapers — and the caregivers hired for more and more hours a day so Alfaro could go to work and her elderly father could get some rest.

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