We probably all know somebody who has struggled with Alzheimers.
13% of people over the age of 65 have it, and half of the population over the age of 85 have been diagnosed with Alzheimers. Carla Burbidge tells us more in this week's Eye on Heath" as November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month.
Hopefully, it will change someday, but right now, there is no cure for Alzheimers. That's the disease that progressively eats away at a person's memory. Jodi Keller is the Regional Care Consultant for the Alzheimer's Association. speaking at Minot's Commission of Aging. With Alzheimers, the brain is breaking down, memory fails, then the ability to perform functions, and there are personality changes that lead to agitation and outbursts. A diagnosis is hard on everyone.
(Jodi Keller, Regional Care Consultant) "Often times the patient is well take care of, its the people around them, don't carry the burden , get support."
The numbers of Alzheimers patients are on the increase. Couple of reasons for that: baby boomers are now in their later years, and there's more awareness, leading to many patients being diagnosed earlier. And Keller says in North Dakota the numbers of Alzheimers patients will triple between the year 2000- and 2025.
(Jodi Keller, Regional Care Consultant) "We are one of those states with an older population."
The disease eventually leads to death. It is the 4th leading cause of death in the U-S.
The positive news is that: there are drugs that can slow the disease, giving the patient more time.
(Jodi Keller, Regional Care Consultant) "You can remain independent longer, and make some plans."
Keller says the main thing to remember if this happens to someone you love, get support, this is a road you don't have to travel alone. The 24/7 information help line is 800-272-3900.
For Eye on Health I'm Carla Burbidge.