Alzheimer’s disease creates a need for families to provide support and care for their loved ones affected. As the disease progresses, more and more care is needed. There are about 3 family caregivers for each person living with the disease. In 2020, in the United States, over 16 million Alzheimer’s caregivers will provide an estimated 18.6 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $244 billion.
Caregiver stress is high and the impact of this stress creates problems with caregiver health, mental well-being, and of course with family dynamics. There is a significant financial impact on families as well to provide care. In fact, 35% of caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementia report that their health has gotten worse due to care responsibilities. As we discussed, much of this burden falls on the shoulders of women. There are nearly 15 million women living with the unique Alzheimer’s disease challenge.
The Alzheimer’s Association is offering virtual education courses for families, caregivers, and the general population. The courses are free and provide a wide range of subjects from how to care for your loved one living with Alzheimer’s during COVID-19, Dementia Conversations, Effective Communication Strategies, Understanding Dementia Behaviors, and Tips About the Latest Research on Ways to Reduce Your Risk for Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association is offering virtual education courses for families, caregivers and the general population. The courses are free and provide a wide range of subjects from how to care for your loved one living with Alzheimer’s during COVID-19, Dementia Conversations, Effective Communication Strategies, Understanding Dementia Behaviors, and Tips About the Latest Research on Ways to Reduce Your Risk for Alzheimer’s.
The coronavirus has had an impact, but Alzheimer’s disease hasn’t stopped because of the virus, and neither have we! The Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be happening this fall, however, because of social distancing restrictions, we won’t be gathering in large groups like we normally do. The good news is that the Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be everywhere! From your own street in your own neighborhood to your favorite trail, you can be involved in the Walk.
We will be holding 8 events throughout the state of Utah and each event will include participation in our virtual Mainstage opening ceremony through the Walk app. You can experience everything you would at our normal event through the app. To learn more and to register your team, simply go to alz.org/walk. You can also get the same information by calling our toll-free Helpline at 800-272-3900.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is the only one of the top ten killers that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed. More than 700,000 Americans die each year with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. At age 65, one in ten people have Alzheimer’s and at age 85, one in three people are affected. More people die annually from Alzheimer’s disease than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Every 65 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s.
Women are twice as likely as men to have Alzheimer’s. After age 60, women are twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s as breast cancer. Roughly two-thirds of the people living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. Likewise, it is probably no surprise that women make up nearly 73 percent of care providers supporting those living with the disease. They are predominantly the sisters, daughters, and wives of those affected.
African Americans are nearly twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s disease. Other minorities like Latino populations are about 1.5 times more likely. While science isn’t quite sure why they do know that there is a significant link between heart health and brain health. Since minority populations tend to have a higher incidence of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues, this also carries over to dementia-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Since currently there is no way to slow, cure or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, unless we find a way to slow its progress, the projection will be that by 2050, the number of people affected will nearly triple to over 15 million, and the costs will skyrocket to more than $1 trillion.
There is some incredible research happening today focused on prevention, arresting the progression of the disease, and addressing many of the symptoms of the disease. One recent survey has indicated that lowering systolic blood pressure to 120 or less could reduce the risk of cognitive decline by as much as 20 percent! A portion of all the funds raised through our Walk to End Alzheimer’s will go to our research fund. We need more research to happen throughout the country.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research and has played a role in nearly every major scientific advancement in the field. Since 1982, we have committed over $435 million to more than 2,400 best-of-field grant proposals. We also bring together researchers from around the world to our annual International Conference.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a free 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900, which is staffed by masters-level clinicians and specialists who offer confidential support information on a variety of topics, including clinical studies, care strategies, and legal, financial and care planning. Annually our Helpline receives more than 300,000 calls in more than 200 different languages and dialects. We also offer support groups, education programs, and personal family consultations. These days we are doing most of this virtually, but we hope to be able to soon offer these programs in person. You can learn more by going to our website.
Their award-winning website is a rich resource that helps inform and educate multiple audiences, including those with the disease, caregivers, and professional health care providers. One of the best parts of the website is the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center, which is a comprehensive online resource for anyone who cares for a person with dementia. This covers all stages of the disease and provides access to helpful tools.
For more information please call the Helpline at 800-272-3900 or by going to their website. You can also follow the Alzheimer’s Association on Facebook, Twitter, read their blog for additional tips, or subscribe to videos on Youtube.
This article contains sponsored content.