If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, chances are you have a lot of questions. Get answers at REAL Services and Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana. Call 574-233-8205 or 800-552-2916 to get help today.
1. There are 5.4 million people in America living with Alzheimer’s right now
And another person gets diagnosed about every 66 seconds. In Indiana, there are about 120,000 people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- 4,200 in St. Joseph County
- 2,900 in Elkhart County
- 1,280 in Kosciusko County
- 834 in Marshall County
2. By 2050, half of all people age 65 or older are expected to have Alzheimer’s or dementia
That means there will be an estimated 13.8 million people in the U.S. who will have Alzheimer’s or dementia — and these people will require medical care and other resources.
3. It’s the only one of the top 10 leading causes of death that has no known cure or prevention
Alzheimer’s is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. The others — cancer, heart disease, chronic lung disease, accidents, stroke, diabetes, flu, kidney disease and suicide — can either be prevented or cured.
4. There are more than 120 other conditions that cause similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia
It can take awhile to get a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis because doctors must first rule out depression, cancer, under active thyroid, urinary tract infections, liver disease, hydrocephalus, side effects of other medications and other potential causes of dementia-like symptoms.
5. Don’t update your home after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but do update your light bulbs
The memories made most recently — especially short-term memories — are the first to go when a patient starts showing Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms. New updates to a house or upgraded technology can confuse or frustrate someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, updating light bulbs to be more red-hued in the morning and blue-hued in the evening can help a patient’s natural sleep cycle.
6. Alzheimer’s disease has 7 stages
Stage one is considered “normal” and stage two is when forgetfulness begins to happen. In stage three, other symptoms like repeating questions become more apparent. Patients are diagnosed at stage four, and then the disease progresses from moderate (stage five), moderately severe (stage six) and severe (stage seven).
7. Most people aren’t diagnosed until after they’re 65
A diagnosis before the age of 65 is considered early onset Alzheimer’s. About 200,000 Americans are estimated to have early on-set Alzheimer’s, which usually shows up in a person’s 40s or 50s.
8. Memory loss is devastating
It’s very painful when a patient forgets an important date or a loved one’s name, and unfortunately memory loss gets worse from there. In the later stages, someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia often forgets how to put on clothes or even how to swallow food. It’s part of the disease and not something that can be helped, which makes it more frustrating and painful for patients, loved ones and caretakers.
9. Most caretakers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients don’t get paid for it
Together, about 335,000 Hoosier caretakers spent more than 381 million hours taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia in 2016 without getting paid for it. Most of the caretakers were family members, like spouses or children, and some were neighbors and friends. This leads to increased medical costs for the caretakers themselves, as they often don’t have the support they need.