As we say goodbye to summer and welcome the fall season, September is just around the corner. For older adults, September is an important month. September commemorates World Alzheimer's Month.
As most of us know from numerous reports, Alzheimer's is an insidious disease that has claimed many millions of sufferers and there is still no cure. What follows are some astounding facts about the current state of Alzheimer's from the Alzheimer's Association's 2019 Report.
5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's dementia.
The vast majority are age 65 and older.
Of those sufferers, nearly two-thirds are women.
Many Americans are under-diagnosed, if at all, and it is their family or loved ones who observe and can report on the change in behaviors.
In 2018, more than 18.5 billion hours of care were provided by caregivers for those with Alzheimer's.
Check out the website for more information about this disease as well as ways you can participate in your communities to support research and funding for finding a cure. The Walk to End Alzheimer's, which started in 1989, is the world's largest event to support research, funding for an end to this disease. If you are so inclined, it is very simple to register to participate in one of these walks in your community. I helped fundraise and walked with a team many years ago in support of my now deceased parents, and from personal experience, it was exhilarating, fun and I met so many giving and supportive people.
In addition, the Alzheimer's Association has a public policy arm, The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), that may be of interest as they are fighting for national support to end the disease. The research is indicating that a cure may be found as early as 2025. It is critical that national support is garnered for this disease which has struck more than 5.8 million at present. With the population aging rapidly, the numbers will probably go up and so the timing to get Federal support to fight this now incurable disease is critical and immediate.
September is also important because it is Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD) on September 23rd. According to the National Institutes of Health and other institutions researching Alzheimer's/dementia and its association with falls, there appears to be a clear connection between Alzheimer's and a higher risk of falling. Since September celebrates both these two situations, here are a few findings about the connection and why Falls Prevention is crucial to maintaining a good quality of life.
People with Alzheimer's are three times more likely to fall and have a hip fracture or more serious fall outcomes.
Many factors may contribute to this with some that have been identified such as: physical changes affect a person's gait, mobility; spatial judgment is reduced; reflexes are not as sharp; vision may also be negatively impacted. In addition, the effect of some prescribed medications may result in drowsiness, dizziness or lowered blood pressure.
FPAD is celebrated nationwide with its many Fall Prevention partnerships and in our community, both Alameda County and Contra Costa County support and sponsor activities to expand awareness of steps to take to avoid this occurrence.
In Alameda specifically, we are preparing seniors for Falls Prevention with our current classes at Mastick Senior Center. By collaborating with Alameda County Health System, we are conducting A Matter of Balance Workshop, an evidence-based program to provide seniors skills and tips to avoid falls. We hold these classes at least twice yearly to support our senior community.
Written by: Gayle Uchida, Community Relations
Alice Home Care is here to help provide compassionate care for your loved ones who struggle to remain independent in their homes. Give us a call at 510-924-8529 and let us provide you with helping hands and caring hearts.