This Tuesday marks World Alzheimer’s Day. With this important day right around the corner, we wanted to take some time to shed light on the topic. Consider this*:
• One in eight Americans aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s
• 172 billion U.S. dollars are spent every year on the disease
• There are 10.9 million unpaid Americans acting as caregivers to Alzheimer’s patients
• Alzheimer’s was the seventh leading cause of death across all ages in the U.S. in 2006
Although Alzheimer’s affects people differently, some signs to be aware of in your loved one are: memory loss that disrupts daily life, challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty completely familiar tasks at home, confusion with time or place, and trouble understanding visual images. Unfortunately, there is no treatment available to stop the deterioration of brain cells in Alzheimer’s disease. Yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved five drugs that temporarily slow worsening of symptoms for approximately six to 12 months.
So, how can you help? In addition to acting as a caregiver and providing emotional support, don’t be afraid to ask for outside help. Humor can also be a major coping mechanism. Depending on the condition of your loved one, find games that are fun for the both of you.
In hopes of making Alzheimer’s a national priority, awareness advocates have put together a bike ride called Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Ride. It will take place Sept. 21 in our nation’s capital. With a petition asking that the disease take nationwide precedence, the group will personally deliver the 100,000 signatures to Congress.
*All stats taken from the Alzheimer’s Association’s Facts and Figures Report