In 1983, President Ronald Regan declared November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. At the time of Regan’s announcement, fewer than 3 million Americans had the disease. Today, 36 years later, the number of Americans who have Alzheimer’s has more than doubled to 5.8 million. If this trend continues, experts predict the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s Disease will grow to nearly 14 million by 2050.
Many of our clients have Alzheimer’s and dementia diseases. And the effects of these disorders ripple outward from the patients to significantly impact family members, friends, and caregivers. That’s why we’ve written extensively about this disease over the years. So in honor of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, we’ve collected a few of our most recent posts here.
1/3 of Dementia Cases Could be Preventable
Back in 2017, medical journal The Lancet published a study asserting that we could prevent up to 1/3 of dementia cases by addressing specific risk factors during early, mid, and late-life.
“[M]aximizing education opportunities early in life could reduce one’s dementia risk by 8%. During midlife, the study finds that aggressively treating hearing loss, hypertension, and obesity could cut dementia cases by 12%. In late life, smoking, depression, inactivity, social isolation, and diabetes are risk factors that could account for 15% of dementia cases.”
These findings could provide doctors with a roadmap for assessing and treating dementia risk factors throughout a patient’s life.
Simple Steps to Reduce Your Alzheimer’s Risk
Earlier this year, two new reports showed that simple self-care measures could go a long way in reducing your overall risk of developing dementia. First, a study from The University of California, Berkley found that older people reporting diminished sleep quality have more protein tangles in their brain, which is a hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are also taking a new look at pioneering dementia research from the late ’90s showing that stroke-related brain damage could impact memory loss more than protein tangles. These findings underscore the importance of protecting your vascular and sleep health as you age.
Exercise Benefits Patients with Early Stage Alzheimer’s
While there are few available treatments to stem Alzheimer’s Disease, patients can benefit from exercise. Research published by Harvard Medical School found that exercise benefits Alzheimer’s patients in several ways:
- Improving heart health and reducing the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
- Improving physical fitness and maintaining healthy muscles, bones, and joints. This may allow some patients to live independently for longer.
- Reduced depression risk, which is often associated with dementia.
- Benefits cognition by improving memory and warding off mental decline.
Of course, seniors should consult their doctors before beginning a new exercise regimen.
Three New Ideas for Combatting Dementia
As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, the number of Alzheimer’s and dementia cases will explode. To fill this growing need, some experts are turning towards community-based solutions. One Copenhagen-based design firm developed the concept of dementia villages, which are tailored to meet these patient’s unique needs. To fight against the institutional nature of today’s dementia care, designers built communities around shared services like libraries, hairdressers, and grocery stores. Designers hope these villages will help ease the transition between independent living and memory care. Other solutions include government-subsidized peer support networks and dementia cafés designed to meet the needs of dementia patients.
BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is Signed into Law
The challenges we face from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are so significant, world governments have no choice but to act. The U.S. government moved in this direction late last year as President Trump signed the Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act — or the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act — into law. The legislation takes several steps to improve Alzheimer’s research, support public health departments, and improve data collection, analysis, and reporting. While this legislation will undoubtedly help, researchers and health policy leaders need sustained support to make real progress against this disease.
In-Home Care Fills the Alzheimer’s Care Gap
Until researchers discover a cure, Alzheimer’s patients will continue to need hands-on, around-the-clock care. While family caregivers provide the bulk of this critical work, in-home care providers, like Generations Home Care, can step in and ease the burden. By providing non-medical assistance with tasks like meal preparation, personal care, and medication reminders, in-home caregivers fill an important gap. These services improve Alzheimer’s and dementia patient’s quality-of-life, allowing them to live independently for longer while delaying a move into expensive residential care. We hope that we’ll all live to see the day when a National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month is no longer necessary.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.