An official wire released by the President of the U.S. on Nov. 1, 2014, the first day of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, stated that more than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer's disease. In addition to those suffering from the disease, there are more than 15 million Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers, according to the Alzheimer's Association. This disease, which is the most common form of dementia, is nationally recognized during the month of November, and provides an opportunity to thank caregivers, learn more about the disease, invest in research and raise general awareness. The federal government has made a pledge of finding new means of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's by 2025. While no identifiable cure exists today, we can make the most of November by learning more about this debilitating disease and show our appreciation for those that provide care.
Some facts about Alzheimer's
According to the Mayo Clinic, Alzheimer's disease causes brain cells to degenerate and die, which causes deterioration in memory and other mental functions. The Alzheimer's Association notes that someone in the U.S. develops this disease once every 67 seconds. Furthermore, Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., with as many as half a million people dying from the disease each year. Since there is no current cure for this disease, Alzheimer's patients rely on a support system of caregivers of family, friends, health care professionals and assisted living memory care communities.
In 2013 alone, the Alzheimer's Association estimated caregivers provided the equivalent of 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care. Alzheimer's effects more women than men, with women making up approximately two-thirds of Alzheimer's patients in the U.S.
Honor a caregiver
During National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, the Alzheimer's Association honors caregivers by providing space to add a personal tribute on its website. The organization also shares caregiver stories and provides a number of resources regarding caring for those with Alzheimer's disease. November serves as a month not only to thank those who serve as caregivers, but also to build support resources for Alzheimer's patients in local communities.
Though much more research must be done to prevent and treat Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, recent studies have found several drugs to show some promise. Take the month of November to learn about this disease, pay homage to friends and family that provide care and read up on the latest about Alzheimer's treatment.