Monday, September 2, 2019

Dementia Facts

Kelly Nolte, age 2

I felt this would be a good time to share a couple of things about dementia, and I am really hoping the younger generation is paying attention. One of the best go-to places for information is, which is where my facts are coming from:

  • Not including other dementias, Alzheimer's Disease is ranked as the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • 16 million plus people are caring for someone with Alzheimer's or other form of dementia, putting in over 18.5 BILLION hours of time.
  • Even though heart disease declined 9% from 2007 - 2017, cases and deaths of Alzheimer's have risen 145%. It is estimated that someone in this country develops Alzheimer's every 65 seconds.
  • Alzheimer's and other dementias kill more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. One of every three seniors dies from some form of dementia.
  • Seniors are not receiving the regular cognitive assessments  they need from their medical providers - only 16% are tested during routine check-ups.
  • Right now, there are an estimated 5.8 million people living with dementia in the U.S. It is estimated that if we don't find a cure soon, that number will skyrocket to 14 million in this country by 2050.

Okay, so I'm not too sure I will still be around by 2050, but this scares the heck out of me because I have a daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids. I don't want them to watch me go the way Kelly did and I really don't want it to happen to any of them. It is the most horrible thing to watch your family member die from dementia - it can be a slow process for some - there have been cases of people living 20 years or more with the disease. 

Maybe you're only in your twenties and think, "that won't happen to me." Well, maybe it won't, but who's to say you won't wind up as a caregiver for someone you care a great deal?  Educate yourself and get involved - try to keep it from happening not only to yourself, but the older members of your circle - parents,  grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, friends.  
Find out what you can do to help find the cure. If you have seniors in your life, make sure they are getting the proper medical care. If you are a senior - ask your doctor to give you a cognitive assessment. 

My entire life I have cared about many things - animal, children, women, victims rights - human rights. But I never really jumped on any bandwagons and spoke out. Now, because dementia has touched me so closely, this is now my soapbox, and I hope you will forgive me if I harp on it occasionally, especially trying to inspire the younger generations to help find a solution for this major problem. 

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 Dementia Research!

What are we without memories?