The Alzheimer’s Association has released its 2019 Facts and Figures Report, and with a full 5.8 million Americans currently diagnosed with the disease – including 1 out of every 10 older adults – it’s essential for everyone to be familiar with the most recent breakthroughs in research and treatments.
According to the report, the number of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to explode from 5.8 million in 2019 to an estimated 13.8 million in 2050. And although the impact is greatest on older adults, the condition starts to produce alterations in the brain a staggering 20 years or more before signs and symptoms are noticeable.
If you are among the scores of family members providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you’re quite aware of the investment in time required: along with other family caregivers, it totalled 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 substantial, with virtually 60% revealing emotional stress and nearly 40% being affected by physical stress.
Risk factors have also been updated in this year’s report, including:
- Age: Not surprisingly, risk climbs considerably with age, from as low as 3% within the 65 – 74 age-group, to 17% in those ages 75 – 84, to an astonishing 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 greatest occurrence with the disease.
- Family history: Those with one first-degree relative (parents, siblings) are at a higher risk for being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and the risk increases when shared lifestyle and environmental aspects are in play (i.e. unhealthy eating or obesity).
Of significant importance is the finding that although medical care providers are advised to regularly assess cognitive functioning for all seniors, only 16% of individuals over age 65 report receiving a routine assessment, and more than half have never received an evaluation at all – despite the fact that 94% of medical professionals noted the necessity of such an assessment.
Per Joanne Pike, PhD, 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.”
JFS Care, the premiere Los Angeles, CA home health agency, continues to be focused on following the latest advancements in Alzheimer’s disease, and to offer the excellent, highly skilled care that allows for the highest possible quality of life at all times for those with dementia. Contact us or give us a call us at (213) 383-2273 or toll free at (855) 455-2273 to get more detailed educational resources pertaining to Alzheimer’s, or to find out more about our specialized in-home dementia care services.