Alzheimer’s Disease is expected to affect as many as 14 million people by the year 2060, according to the CDC, nearly tripling the number of Americans estimated to be living with Alzheimer’s in 2014.
There is still much about the disease that is unknown, but here are 8 facts about the role Alzheimer’s can play in the lives and families of older adults.
1. It accounts for 60–80% of dementia cases
While Alzheimer’s disease is just one type of dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association says it is the most common cause of lost cognitive function and is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
2. Plaques on the brain are still being investigated
The amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that are two biological characteristics of Alzheimer’s were first identified in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer and are still being researched today.
3. Symptoms typically appear after age 60
Though Alzheimer’s disease may develop in younger adults, most cases don’t appear until later in life – and increasing age increases risk.
4. There are many risk factors
Though the CDC says that age is the best-known risk factor for Alzheimer’s, family history, environment, and health factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol may also play a role.
5. Memory loss is only one symptom
Poor judgment or inability to make decisions, difficulty completing tasks or dealing with numbers, and changes in mood or personality are also common signs of Alzheimer’s.
6. Not all skills are lost
Even while skills like managing a budget are lost, some skills are preserved. The Mayo Clinic suggests that reading, drawing, singing, and storytelling are controlled by parts of the brain that are affected by the disease later than others.
7. It is a progressive disorder
Alzheimer’s worsens over time, often characterized by a steady decline in independent function and social skills that may require specialized dementia care.
8. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s – yet
But there are treatments available for many of the typical symptoms, including through Alzheimer’s care programs in assisted living and memory care communities. And research is ongoing at a steady pace, so there is hope!
To learn more about how we can provide support for individuals and their families living with Alzheimer’s disease, contact us or give us a call at 719-960-4005. We provide highly-skilled assisted living and memory support for people living with dementia.