President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Awareness Monthin 1983. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s; today, the number of people with the disease has soared to more than 5.7 million, with over 650,000 living in California. Get involved this month and help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s affects the whole family
Dementia impacts the whole family, not just the person with the disease. The chronic stress of watching a loved one slowly decline affects everyone. Family caregivers experience high rates of physical illness, social isolation, emotional distress and financial hardship compared to non-caregivers. Having a care plan can help reduce stress by knowing what to expect and having resources at hand.
Alzheimer’s and dementia basics
- Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for nearly 80% of dementia cases.
- Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and most people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.
- Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that weakens the memory and other cognitive and emotional functions. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.
- Alzheimer’s cannot be prevented, slowed or cured. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.