Nov. 11, 2013 — The editor:
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month, and we kicked it off once again with a 5K walk/run on Nov. 2 at the Center for Health Education and Research to raise awareness and support for the Alzheimer’s Association.
The 2013 “Turkey Trot for a Cure” was a great success with more than 130 walkers/runners and over $1,500 in donations for our local chapter.
We would like to take this opportunity to THANK our sponsors (St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Whitaker Bank, Print + Pixel Creative, Commercial Signs, Ale 8 One, Spurlock Chiropractic Centre, All Star Realty, Ridgeway Nursing & Rehabilitation, Aramark and Citizens Bank) and those who participated and volunteered to make the event successful.
However, more importantly, we need to be aware of the magnitude of Alzheimer’s disease in America and work together to find a cure. The annual “Alzheimer’s Association Facts & Figures” for 2013 are staggering. 5.4 million people in the US have Alzheimer’s disease; including 80,000 Kentuckians. The disease affects 1 in 8 older adults and it is the 6th leading cause of death in the US today for which there is no cure. Fifty percent of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease never receive the diagnosis. On another note, there are over 15 million unpaid caregivers!
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss or other intellectual abilities and accounts for 50-80 percent of dementia cases. Memory loss that disrupts daily life is not a normal part of aging. It may be a symptom of Alzheimer's disease. Every individual may experience one or more of these signs in different degrees:
• Memory loss that disrupts daily life
• Challenges in planning or solving problems
• Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
• Confusion with time or place
• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
• New problems with words in speaking or writing
• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
• Decreased or poor judgment
• Withdrawal from work or social activities
Alzheimer's has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer's treatments cannot stop the disease from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.
Many people have trouble with memory loss; this does not mean they have Alzheimer’s disease. There are many different causes of memory loss. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms it is best to see a doctor so the cause can be determined.
Mary Horsley, RN, CCRP