Understanding the Impact of Alzheimer’s

During the month of November, which serves as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, Beaumont will publish a three-part series on Alzheimer’s and its impact on the patient as well as caregivers and the family. Many diseases affect the patient and their family, but few take as emotional a toll as Alzheimer’s.

understanding_alzheimersA recent study by the Alzheimer’s Association found that 1-in-3 seniors who die suffer from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Rates of death related to Alzheimer’s disease rose 68% from 2000-2010, with the Alzheimer’s Association estimating that by 2050 nearly 14 million people will suffer from the disease. Alzheimer’s affects the patient but it also affects families, both emotionally and financially. In 2012, it’s estimated that 15 million Alzheimer’s caregivers provided more than 17 billion hours of unpaid care worth around $216 billion.

Alzheimer’s is a slow-moving neuro-degenerative disease where the nerve cells in the brain progressively die. While it results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior, confusion, language deterioration and emotional apathy, it doesn’t always affect motor function, sometimes stealing the patient’s mind but preserving the body. There is no cure and no way of reversing its effects.

Many caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s feel alone and lost. Their loved ones don’t act like themselves anymore and due to cognitive degeneration, Alzheimer’s patients require near-constant care and supervision. There are many resources available to care givers, including plans based on the stage of the disease and support from professionals who can assist with day to day care as well as financial and legal planning, but caregivers need to be empowered to ask for help.

Check back for the next two installments of our blog series. Part Two of Understanding the Impact of Alzheimer’s will focus on warning signs, treatment and support for Alzheimer’s, while Part Three will look at living with Alzheimer’s from a caregiver’s perspective.

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4 thoughts on “Understanding the Impact of Alzheimer’s

  1. Tricia says:

    It would be nice to find resources for care for people with dementia and alzheimers. There is alot of information out there on understanding the disease, but when it comes to finding living situations, there is not much available. It concerns me that there will be an increase in people with these diseases and what will happen. I know there are facilities, but the cost is ridiculous and many people cannot afford it. My own mother has dementia and lives in a senior apt complex, but should be in assisted living. The cheapest facility we could find was 3800.00 per month, which she cannot afford. Also, there are group homes run by people with no medical qualifications, and then you are concerned about the care. It would be nice to see more information on where people can turn for good affordable quality care, especially if there is going to be an increase in people needing this
    care.

    • Tricia – Stay tuned! Part three of our Alzheimer’s series will talk more about the resources available for caregivers. Thanks for reading.

    • Susan McEwan says:

      Tricia The Area Agency on Aging has 16 offices in Michigan and you can find them on the Web. The information and resource ph 1-800-852-7795. Also Alzheimer’s Assoc website has lots of useful information for caregivers. The local office of the Greater Michigan Chapter is also Southfield; The have a 24 phone service too. There are some excellent Assited Living Apartments for lower income seniors through Presbyterian Village of Michigan throughout Michigan and you do not have to be affiliated with the church. See there website. Your concerns are very accurate!

  2. Tricia says:

    I have called The Area on Aging along with numerous assisted living facilities. Right now there are no funds in any of the programs that could help with financial assistance. And waiting lists are very long, even though there are no funds. I’ve contacted many agencies that assist in finding affordable living. It seems the people I talk to do not live in the area and the only places they find that she can afford are homes that are not in the safest areas run by people that have no medical qualifications. I have many lists sent to me for assisted living and it’s all the same thing. I have gotten the impression that it’s a money making business. One of her doctors even said that the price of assisted living is ridiculous and what are people to do. I can see why so many people with these illnesses are living with family. It makes me wonder what’s going to happen in the future with the all the baby boomers. I have not tried Presbyterian Village of Michigan. I will try calling them today.

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