When President Ronald Reagan first declared November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, there were less than 2 million persons in the U.S. with Alzheimers Disease.
Today, there are 5.4 million. That’s more than a 170% increase!
And it means 1 in 8 persons over the age of 65 has it.
Alzheimer’s Disease is now the 6th cause of death in the U.S. And according to the Alzheimer’s Association, the only one that has no —
- Prevention or…
- Way to slow its progression.
More sobering statistics are that about 1 in 10 grandparents has Alzheimer’s. And for people over the age of 85, almost 1 in every 2 — or almost 50 percent — have either Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
So what can you do to help?
Each case is unique, and your situation probably is too. Here are some suggestions —
- Support Alzheimer’s research and awareness through donating money and / or time…
- Support an Alzheimer’s caregiver. Caregiving can be very lonely, and caring for someone with dementia is especially exhausting. You could offer to help. Some examples include grocery shopping, shoveling snow or mowing the lawn, pay some bills, provide hot meals or respite for the caregiver. You could arrange a vacation for the caregiver, although often a few hours break is what is really needed.
Just offering a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen without criticism can be invaluable to the caregiver and the one receiving care.
- Or maybe you know there’s something else you can do to individually help.
And if you’re a caregiver, how about asking someone for help before you reach your breaking point?
Friends and family may think you have everything under control and don’t need help. Maybe they’re busy with their own lives. Sometimes just asking for help is all you need to do.
Do you care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease who still likes to get out, but you’re nervous about taking them because you never know how they’ll react?
How about asking someone to help you take them to a favorite restaurant? You might be surprised how helpful another person can be. Especially if you are stressed and tired. And what caregiver isn’t?
Unexpected situations can be frightening to someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a dementia. And sometimes waiters, receptionists and others can make the situation worse without realizing it. They may be impatient – and even rude – when they don’t understand what’s going on.
Now you can discretely hand them a card explaining the situation, without alerting the whole room or embarrassing your companion. They’re called Alzheimer’s companion cards and they can be very helpful.
If you know someone who could use these cards why not get some as a gift? Or get some for yourself if you’re the caregiver and can use them.
To your healthy and happy caregiving,