The Alzheimer’s Association has issued its 2019 Facts and Figures Report, and with a full 5.8 million Americans presently diagnosed with the disease – including one out of every ten older adults – it’s vital for people to know the newest breakthroughs in research and treatment plans.
According to the report, the number of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is expected to explode from 5.8 million in 2019 to an estimated 13.8 million in 2050. And even while the impact is most significant on older adults, the condition starts to create changes in the brain a full two decades or more before signs and symptoms are evident.
If you are among the scores of family members providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s in Anchorage, you’re well aware of the investment in time needed: adding up to 18.5 billion hours in 2018 alone. In fact, 83% of dementia care is provided by relatives and friends. And the impact on a caregiver’s health is significant, with virtually 60% reporting emotional stress and nearly 40% struggling with physical stress.
Risk factors were also updated in this year’s report, including:
- Age: Unsurprisingly, risk climbs substantially as we age, from as low as 3% within the 65 – 74 population, to 17% in those ages 75 – 84, to a whopping 32% for individuals age 85 and older.
- APOE gene: Of the three forms of the APOE gene (e2, e3, and e4), which transports cholesterol within the bloodstream, the e4 form is linked to the highest incidence associated with the disease.
- Family history: Individuals with 1 first-degree relative (parents, siblings) have an increased risk for being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and the risk grows when shared lifestyle and environmental considerations are in play (for example. unhealthy eating or obesity).
Of considerable importance is the finding that while medical care providers are encouraged to regularly measure cognitive functioning for all seniors, only 16% of individuals over age 65 report having a routine evaluation, and more than half have never been given an evaluation of any kind – in spite of the fact that 94% of health professionals noted the value of such an evaluation.
According to Joanne Pike, Dr.P.H., chief program officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, “Early detection of cognitive decline offers numerous medical, social, emotional, financial and planning benefits, but these can only be achieved by having a conversation with doctors about any thinking or memory concerns and through routine cognitive assessments.”
Midnight Sun Home Care continues to be invested in following the most current advancements in Alzheimer’s disease, and to offer the exceptional, highly trained Anchorage senior care which allows for the highest possible quality of life at all times for anyone with dementia. Contact us online or call us at (907) 677-7890 for additional educational resources related to Alzheimer’s, or to learn more about how we provide the kind of Alzheimer’s care Anchorage families trust. To learn more about all of the other areas we serve in Alaska, please visit our Service Area page.