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 – and one out of every ten older individuals – it is important for all of us to know the most recent breakthroughs in research and treatment plans.
According to the report, the total number of Americans identified as having Alzheimer’s is expected to increase from 5.8 million in 2019 to an expected 13.8 million in 2050. And even though the effects are greatest on older adults, the condition begins to produce changes in the brain a full twenty years or more before signs or symptoms are evident.
Experts in senior care, Atlanta Home Care Partners, recognizes that if you are among the countless family members providing care for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s, you are well aware of the investment in time required: in combination with other family caregivers, totaling 18.5 billion hours in 2018 alone. In fact, 83% of dementia care is provided by family and friends. And the impact on a caregiver’s health is significant, with approximately 60% revealing emotional stress and nearly 40% struggling with physical stress.
Risk factors have also been updated in this year’s report, and include:
- Age: Not surprisingly, risk grows substantially with age, from as little as 3% in the 65 – 74 age bracket, to 17% in those ages 75 – 84, to a whopping 32% for everyone age 85 and older.
- APOE gene: Of the three forms of the APOE gene (e2, e3, and e4), which transports cholesterol in the bloodstream, the e4 form is related to the greatest prevalence for the disease.
- Family history: People with one first-degree relative (parents, siblings) are at a much higher risk for being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and the risk grows when shared lifestyle and environmental aspects are at play (for example, unhealthy eating or obesity).
Of significant importance is the finding that while healthcare providers are advised to routinely assess cognitive functioning for all seniors, only 16% of those over age 65 report receiving a routine evaluation, and more than 50 percent have never been given an assessment at all – despite the fact that 94% of health professionals noted the value of such an assessment.
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.”
Atlanta Home Care Partners remains dedicated to following the most up-to-date advancements in Alzheimer’s disease, and to offer the exemplary, professional care which allows for the highest possible quality of life at all times for people with dementia. Contact us online or give us a call at (404) 228-0103 to get more detailed educational resources pertaining to Alzheimer’s, or to learn more about our specialized in-home dementia care services. We’d love to work with your family and show you why we’re the number one choice when it comes to senior care Atlanta families prefer most.