With the highlight on education and awareness, National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month helps out many senior services and medical organizations throughout the month of November. With millions of Americans either living with the disease or caring for a loved one who is affected, there’s no better time for people to get the latest information and resources on Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the most important aspects of an awareness campaign such as this is to ensure that people have the true facts concerning the disease, treatment and more. There are far too many myths and misperceptions out there surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. National Alzheimer’s Disease Month gives people a chance to learn more about it.
MYTH: Alzheimer’s disease isn’t all that common in elderly people.
TRUTH: Memory loss is not an inevitable part of aging, but more than 5 million people in the country live with Alzheimer’s disease. In the year 2050, it is expected to affect more than 16 million Americans. Today, it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
MYTH: Alzheimer’s disease comes on suddenly and seriously impairs seniors in the early stages.
TRUTH: Actually, people usually develop Alzheimer’s disease over a period of many years, often over a decade. The early stage symptoms are often ignored so that by the time there is a diagnosis, the disease has progressed too far to treat effectively.
MYTH: There are no treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
TRUTH: While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are several medical treatments available that can slow down the progression. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner treatments can begin and the more effective they are.
MYTH: There’s no way to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
TRUTH: There are several risk factors that boost someone’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These include diabetes, smoking, poor nutrition, social isolation, head injuries, and lethargy. A family history of the disease can also boost risk.
MYTH: Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t really affect people who don’t have the disease.
TRUTH: There are 15 million family caregivers that take care of aging relatives with Alzheimer’s disease and in 2016 it is estimated that they totaled more than 18 billion hours of elderly care. Besides the emotional impact of caring for an elderly relative with the disease, more than 35 percent of caregivers report their own health declining due to the work and stress.
MYTH: Rates of Alzheimer’s disease are in decline in the United States.
TRUTH: Actually, the death rate for those with Alzheimer’s disease has increased by nearly 90 percent while other leading causes of death like heart disease and breast cancer have declined. Currently, Alzheimer’s disease costs the United States upwards of $260 billion annually and that is expected to rise in the coming decades.
Family caregivers that have a loved one that is affected by Alzheimer’s disease can do their part during National Alzheimer’s Disease Month and join in with experts to educate and inform their communities. With enough awareness and action, the heavy financial, emotional and physical costs of the disease can be reduced for all.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care services in West Hempstead, NY, please contact the caring staff at Family First Home Companions.
Serving all of Long Island. Call today: (631) 319-3961
Jennifer has specialized training in Alzheimer’s disease through the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association and the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation.She also volunteered her time with the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center of Long Island for 3 years by providing cognitive stimulation to an Alzheimer’s patient group.
Jennifer educates the community about elder care and speaks to caregiver support groups, senior centers, and at professional organizations.Topics include home safety, effective strategies for family caregiving, elder care planning, and awareness about elder abuse.
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