The Alzheimer’s Association’s new slogan is We’re the brains behind saving yours, however, while many scientific advances have been made for the recognition of causes behind the deterioration, there is one thing that is clear to those who pay attention: Alzheimer’s Disease has no cure, there is no slowing it down, and there continues to be no proven prevention. Again, no magic pill or set of pills will stop the advances of this disease. A patient may become symptomatic 20 or more years after onset or deterioration has begun, and yes, at that point it is too late, and sadly no, it’s not fair. An extremely small number of medications are available to help patients with functioning skills, and for patients in the earlier stages of the dementia, a second med may be prescribed to attempt to boost memory, but for the majority, these are coping strategies for the inevitable.
I still feel a stigma of ignorance hovers over our populous concerning this disease, but if you haven’t felt the painful loss or overwhelming burden of caregiving yet, it is only a matter of time. The list of your loved ones is long from grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, to friend’s parents, but not one of us breathing on this planet will go their entire life without being affected by AD.
Here are the current facts for 2014 via www.alz.org:
· Over 5 million living with AD in US alone à projected to be nearly 16 million by 2050
· Every 67 seconds, someone develops AD in US
· Alzheimer’s is 6th leading cause of death in US à unofficially the 3rd as many cause of death reports state ‘cardiac arrest’ rather than organ failure from AD
· Over 500,000 people die including 1 in 3 seniors from AD or another dementia where 2/3 of these are women à risk for women is 1 in 6 (breast cancer 1 in 11)
· 15.5 million people provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at over 220 billion in 2013 à more than 60% of those people are women [Source: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp#quickFacts]
People wonder how I have time to teach, raise a couple kids, spend time with friends/family, go out dancing, write, read, compose music, promote a book/cause, and volunteer, but other than laughing off my typical ‘coffee’ response, my answer stems from something so inherent it is simply hard to recall that it is unique. Passion and motivation are a part of my makeup as the life of someone I loved was lost to this disease, and I strive to be a part of the solution to this epidemic by spreading awareness. I want to protect future generations, including my own, from AD.
I do hope and pray you’ll join me in fighting this disease because together we can save the minds of our children forever! Find out how by calling 1.800.272.3900 or visit http://www.alz.org/join_the_cause_join_the_cause.asp
Pictured Above: The 2014 St. Louis Walk to End Alzheimer's alongside two amazing kiddos.