When the team at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) asked me to get involved in spreading the word aboutÂ Taking Action Against Alzheimer’s, I agreed to participate in this important campaign. While I feel very lucky that neither of my late parents experienced this devastating condition, I have seen the impact it has had on the families of close friends who have moms and dads with Alzheimer’s disease.
National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
In addition to being National Family Caregivers Month, November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. I learned heaps regarding this unwellness throughout BAI’s blogger making known. Jessica Langbaum, PhD, principal scientist at BAI and associate director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative in Phoenix, Ariz., shared some staggering statistics,* which are only going to increase as baby boomers get older:
- Every 67 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
- More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
- Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death.
- Alzheimer’s is the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, treated or cured.
Sadly, Alzheimer’s has a far reaching impact when it comes to caregiving:
- One in 10 adults cares for someone with Alzheimer’s.
- Between Medicare, Medicaid, out-of-pocket and other costs, the 2014 costs of Alzheimer’s will equal $214 billion (yes, that’s billions), and these costs are projected to increase to $1.2 trillion in 2050.
- In 2013, caregivers provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care, which is valued at over $220.2 billion.
Boomer girls, I want you to especially listen up because women are at high risk. “Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s because they live longer,” said Dr. Langbaum. “Plus, women are more often shouldering the burden of caregiving for those with Alzheimer’s.”
What’s being done to prevent Alzheimer’s?
As I listened to these numbers, my heart started to beat faster. I wanted to yell and scream that something must be done to STOP this disease from multiplying. I’ve planked for pink to raise dollars to fight breast cancer. I’ve poured ice water over my head to support the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Now it is time to pop on my favorite color purple to assist raise awareness for presenile dementia diseaseâ€”a terribly devastating kind ofdementia.
A new era of research aims to focus on prevention. “Alzheimer’s develops within the brain years before symptoms seem,” said Dr. Langbaum. “Research has progressed to the point that we can detect changes in the brain associated with the disease one or two decades before the first signs of Alzheimer’s.”
According to BAI’s web site, “Research into Alzheimer’s prevention is now at a crucial turning point. With presenile dementia analysis a government priority, some of the nation’s most respected research organizations have formed collaborative relationships to accelerate their work.”
Unfortunately, 80 percent of research studies fail to attract enough participants. “Researchers should screen dozens of individuals,” said Dr. Langbaum. “We might screen thirty,000 people to get 2,000 to launch a study.”
How Can You Help?
The presenile dementia hindrance written account may be a platform for people who area unit able to participate in hindrance analysis. The written account is presently created of a growing community of forty four,000 members who are passionate about combating the disease. Members are provided with updates on the latest scientific advances about the disease and can learn about study opportunities in their community.
Note that you will not have to give personal information and you don’t have to have a family history. As one member aforementioned, “I joined the written account in honor of my husband, United Nations agency was diagnosed with early onset presenile dementia at age fifty. I can’t bear the thought of one of my son’s developing this disease also.”
Has your family been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease? Please share a comment. Then pass along this post so others can understand the sense of urgency with Alzheimer’s awareness. It’s about our future and our children’s future too.
* All stats are courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report 2014.
* Although Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is a nonprofit organization, Judy Freedman was compensated by BAI for the post