World Alzheimer’s Month Week 1: Awareness & Understanding the Disease

September is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. There are 35 million people affected by dementia, as are their families, around the world. A world-wide effort is needed to stop it!

Senior Care Corner is a strong supporter of the fight to end Alzheimer’s, as are such high profile people as the cast of the Big Bang Theory (picture via the Alzheimer’s Association). We love the show and are pleased to see the actors using their popularity to help raise awareness.

Each Tuesday this month we’ll present an Alzheimer’s topic to help increase awareness and support for the cause.

Our week one topic is Alzheimer’s Awareness & Understanding.

Alzheimer’s Disease – What is It?

Much is said about Alzheimer’s Disease and everybody by now has heard about it, but does everyone really know what it is?

  • Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, the most common form actually. Dementias are diseases that cause memory loss and impair mental abilities to an extent great enough to interfere with individuals’ ability to complete even the most basic of daily tasks.
  • The symptoms of Alzheimer’s typically develop slowly – you may think you senior loved one is simply becoming forgetful in her “old age” – until eventually those afflicted are unable to even carry on a conversation or get through the day without assistance.
  • Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of growing old, though increasing age appears to be the single greatest factor in its development.
  • While most of those with Alzheimer’s are seniors, it is not just a disease of old age. Early onset Alzheimer’s accounts for up to 1 in 20 cases of the disease and strikes patients in their 40s and 50s.
  • This is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s, though much research is targeting an end to the disease. Those with Alzheimer’s can receive treatment to make their lives a little better but there is no way yet to stop it from progressing.

Facts & Figures About Alzheimer’s

The statistics are quite astounding and especially shocking when we remember that those afflicted with Alzheimer’s have no cure for the disease and few treatment options.

  1. The number living with disease is over 5 million right now just in America.
  2. Every 68 seconds someone in the US develops Alzheimer’s. With the aging of the US population, by 2050 it is expected to be every 33 seconds.
  3. Alzheimer’s causes the sixth most deaths overall in the US now.
  4. Among seniors (those 65+) Alzheimer’s is the fifth leading cause of death in the US.
  5. 1 in 3 seniors die from Alzheimer’s or other dementias
  6. The disease impacts the lives of family members near and far, as almost 15% of those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s are long distance caregivers.
  7. It is estimated Alzheimer’s will cost – counting paid care only – the US $203 billion.
  8. In 2012, 15.4 million unpaid caregivers, often family members, provided more than 17.5 billion hours of care. While the official value of this care was put at $216 billion, we think that is an understatement.
  9. 80% of care provided to those with Alzheimer’s in their communities is by unpaid caregivers.
  10. Due to the physical and emotional toll of caregiving, caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias had $9.1 billion in additional health care costs of their own in 2012.
  11. The average per-person Medicare cost for those with Alzheimer’s is three times higher than for those without dementia.
  12. Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent it , cure it or even slow its progression.

Today, there are no survivors of Alzheimer’s. If you do not die from it, you die with it! (Source: Alzheimer’s Association)

Join us as we support the fight to End Alzheimer’s Disease!

We invite you back next week to check out our next Topic and encourage you to find ways to join the cause!