September is World Alzheimer’s Month. It is the third year worldwide a campaign is being launched to raise awareness of and challenge stigma about this mental conditions and other factors surrounding dementia. Some of the events scheduled cross the globe are education campaigns, Memory Walks, and free mental screening. The focus is on reducing the risk of developing dementia, primarily by keeping brains active throughout life.
Currently, in the United States, about 5.2 million adults are living with Alzheimer’s. This figure includes approximately 200,000 individuals younger than age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer's. About 2/3 of the senior aged people (over 65) with Alzheimer’s are women. As the Baby Boom generation ages, the number of seniors with Alzheimer’s will increase rapidly. By 2050, estimates put sufferers at 16 million unless effective preventive and curative treatments are quickly discovered.
Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behavior and emotion. Although every person who develops Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia does do at his or her own pace, many factors remain in common.
Ten common symptoms point to the onset of Alzheimer’s.
1. Memory loss, especially of newly learned information.
2. Challenge involving number elated activities.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks that were one easy.
4. Confusion with time or place.
5. Trouble understanding visual imagery or spatial concepts, which can rapidly affect driving ability.
6. Difficulty following or joining conversation coherently.
7. Losing items and inability to retrace steps to find them.
8. Negative changes in decision making abilities.
9. Withdrawal form previously enjoyed social activities and hobbies.
10. Changes in mood or personality.
About half a million people die annually from Alzheimer related causes. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the US and the only one in the top 10 for which there is no effective medical treatment.
The cost to the US is high. One in every $5 of Medicare is spent on Alzheimer’s care. Out-of-pocket spending for individuals with Alzheimer's and other dementias is estimated at $36 billion. The stress of care on families has no reasonable monetary equivalency, considering the emotional component.
Click here to access information about dementia statistics in your state.
Research into finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia continues, but is costly. One of the most common and effective ways of fundraising for Alzheimer’s research is through pledges committed to individuals participating in walks, often called Memory Walks. Click here and enter your zip code to join or form a team to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research.
Learning about dementia and its cost to the human condition is a first step in finding a cure. Consider taking part in a n activity in September to help.
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