Top 10 Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease
The Alzheimer’s Association publishes an annual report detailing the complications and costs of the disease to caregivers and the healthcare system. June is dedicated to
1. Half of adults aged 85 and over have Alzheimer’s.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Facts and Figures report, an estimated 45% of American seniors 85 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s, and 1 in 10 people aged 65 and over (10%) has Alzheimer’s disease. It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.
2. More than half of the 5.4 million Americans with the disease may not know they have it.
In part because of the difficulty with detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), many of those with the disease remain undiagnosed. With research and time, our ability to detect early-stage Alzheimer’s continues to improve, though it will increase the overall number of people known to have the disease.
3. More women have Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that nearly two-thirds of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s are women. However, it is important to note that this does not mean there is a gender-based predisposition for the disease; the primary reason for this statistic is that women generally live longer than men.
4. Symptoms of the disease can develop in people as young as age 30.
We may think of Alzheimer’s as a disease of the elderly, but up to 5% of Americans with Alzheimer’s (around 200,000) have the early-onset variety, which can start to show symptoms as early as one’s 30s. Though the cause still isn’t well understood, some of these cases have a genetic component.
5. The incidence of Alzheimer’s will increase to every 33 seconds by 2050.
The rate at which Alzheimer’s occurs — every 65 seconds in the U.S. — is projected to double by 2050 because of the growing population of people over age 65. The number of people who live into their 80s and 90s is also expected to grow, and the likelihood of Alzheimer’s increases with more advanced age.
6. The disease is the 6th-leading cause of death in the U.S.
“Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death as the populations of the U.S. and other countries age,” reports the Alzheimer’s Association. In part, this is because we are experiencing more success in reducing the rate of death from other causes such as heart disease, while the rate of death from Alzheimer’s continues to increase.
7. There are over 16 million American caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients provide a whopping 80% of the care at home, while a mere 10% of seniors receive all their care from paid health professionals. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, most (70%) of those caregivers are women.
8. There is an increased likelihood of depression, emotional stress and financial problems among caregivers for those with the disease.
The communication difficulties and personality changes of Alzheimer’s can place an incredible strain on caregivers. “The close relationship between the caregiver and the impaired person — a relationship involving shared emotions, experiences and memories — may particularly place caregivers at risk for psychological and physical illness,” reports the Alzheimer’s Association. Social and therapeutic support are shown to reduce this risk.
9. The total cost of health and long-term care services for Alzheimer’s is $277 billion.
Over $102 billion of that amount was paid out of pocket. About $175 billion, or roughly 70%, was paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid coverage is particularly important for those Medicare beneficiaries who have very low assets and income but who need long-term care or skilled nursing.
10. There are an estimated 800,000 Americans with the disease living alone.
For all of the Alzheimer’s sufferers who are receiving support from family caregivers or who are living in an Alzheimer’s or dementia care community, as many as 15% of people with the disease still live alone. Many of those have no identified caregiver, a situation which puts them at greater risk of medical emergencies, poor self-care, social isolation and a range of other issues.
Full and original Article: https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-02-28-scary-facts-about-alzheimers-disease/
Mental Health Awareness Month - Mental Illness in the Elderly
May has been the national Mental Health Awareness Month since 1949. Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses like for example depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Mental Health Awareness Month also strives to reduce negative attitudes and misconceptions that surrounds mental illnesses.
Mental Illness in the Elderly
Did you know that about 20% of adults aged 55 or older have experienced some type of mental health concern, but nearly one in three of those seniors do not receive treatment?
The statistics on mental illness in seniors are sobering, but with knowledge and vigilance, caregivers can stay aware of the emotional and mental health of their older loved ones and make sure they are properly treated if they are experiencing a problem.
You might not be surprised to read that the most common mental health issue among the elderly is severe cognitive impairment or dementia. An estimated 5 million adults 65 and older currently have Alzheimer’s disease — about 11% of seniors, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Depression and mood disorders are also fairly widespread among older adults, and disturbingly, they often go undiagnosed and untreated. The CDC reports that 5% of seniors 65 and older reported having current depression and about 10.5% reported a diagnosis of depression at some point in their lives.
Often going along with depression, anxiety is also one of the more prevalent mental health problems among the elderly. Anxiety disorders encompass a range of issues, from hoarding syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder to phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). About 7.6% of those over 65 have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, says the CDC.
Risk Factors for Mental Illness
One of the ongoing problems with diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in seniors is the fact that older adults are more likely to report physical symptoms than psychiatric complaints. However, even the normal emotional and physical stresses that go along with aging can be risk factors for mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression.
The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation lists a number of potential triggers for mental illness in the elderly:
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Change of environment, like moving into assisted living
- Dementia-causing illness (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease)
- Illness or loss of a loved one
- Long-term illness (e.g., canceror heart disease)
- Medication interactions
- Physical disability
- Physical illnesses that can affect emotion, memory and thought
- Poor diet or malnutrition
10 Symptoms of Mental Illness
As our loved ones’ age, it’s natural for some changes to occur. Regular forgetfulness is one thing, however; persistent cognitive or memory loss is another thing and potentially serious.
The same goes for extreme anxiety or long-term depression. Caregivers should keep an eye out for the following warning signs, which could indicate a mental health concern:
- Changes in appearance or dress, or problems maintaining the home or yard.
- Confusion, disorientation, problems with concentration or decision-making.
- Decrease or increase in appetite; changes in weight.
- Depressed mood lasting longer than two weeks.
- Feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt, helplessness; thoughts of suicide.
- Memory loss, especially recent or short-term memory problems.
- Physical problems that can’t otherwise be explained: aches, constipation, etc.
- Social withdrawal; loss of interest in things that used to be enjoyable.
- Trouble handling finances or working with numbers.
- Unexplained fatigue, energy loss or sleep changes.
Don’t hesitate to seek help if your loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms above, urges the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation.
There are professionals out there willing to help, including your family doctor, who is always a good place to start. You could also consult a counselor, geriatric psychiatrist or psychologist. The important part is not to stand by and suffer alone.
With the combined efforts of caregivers, family, friends and mental health professionals, we can help ward off mental illness in our older loved ones and make sure they are on the right track to healthy aging.
Original article: https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-10-7-mental-illness-in-the-elderly/