Roughly 5.7 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The number of those impacted by Alzheimer’s grows every year because of the simple fact that people are living longer. The Alzheimer’s Association and the CDC have put out the Healthy Brain Initiative, State and Local Health Partnerships to Address Dementia: The 2018-2023 Roadmap. It provides information on the disease for healthcare professionals and families impacted by dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The report includes the roadmap for public health professionals, Alzheimer’s/dementia information and facts, and case studies from various health agencies on programs implemented to address health needs.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. It is currently the most expensive disease in America with an estimated cost of nearly $300 billion; this is expected to grow to over $1 trillion by 2050. A number of recent studies have linked dementia to other chronic diseases. Lifestyles that reduce the risk for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes may also reduce your risk of developing dementia.
Caring for those with dementia can put incredible strain on family caregivers. It can often require 24 hour care and supervision. A large percentage of those with dementia require a level personal care that far exceeds the type of care typically required for aging adults – more help with getting into and out of bed, bathing, and incontinence. Out of concerns for their own health, family caregivers often look outside for additional help. About 35% of those caregivers report that their own health has declined due to the demands on them.
Given that there is not a cure for Alzheimer’s, early detection is critical for receiving treatment and planning for the future.
10 Warning Signs for Alzheimer’s from the Alzheimer’s Association
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or play
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased, or poor, judgement
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
The frequency and severity of the presence of these issues is the difference between dementia and normal age declines.