Commonwealth Senior Living at South Boston recently hosted a program about breaking down the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.
Studies from the CDC and Alzheimer’s Association indicate that as many as three in four people have a “negative association” of someone with dementia. This is a terrifying statistic considering that the number of seniors in Virginia with dementia is expected to grow to 190,000 by 2025.
As part of the discussion, a screening was held of a film called “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” that focuses on the country singer’s final tour
as he grappled with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Over the past 10 years, researchers have learned Alzheimer’s disease starts much earlier than the onset of symptoms – 10-20 years before an individual, family member or friend might notice the signs of the debilitating disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.5 million Americans, of all races and ethnicities, age 65 and older currently live with Alzheimer’s disease, which is expected to grow to more than 7 million people by 2025.
Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., disproportionately impacts African Americans, and older African Americans are twice as likely as older white Americans to develop the disease.
People who provide care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s would love to research themselves out of a job, and they agree the only way to end this disease is through raising money and raising awareness.
People don’t realize how deadly and how widespread Alzheimer’s Disease is, and it doesn’t discriminate who it affects. It could be someone who was once a microbiologist who now can’t feed himself.
Having a conversation about Alzheimer’s can be difficult — but it is so important. Early detection can offer significant benefits for the person diagnosed and their loved ones, including more informed decision-making and planning, better medical care, greater respect for patient’s wishes and access to services and support.
Family members know their loved ones best. If something feels different, it could be Alzheimer’s.
Visit alz.org/OurStories to learn how to start the conversation.