Our Speaker today was Kathleen Harvard who educated us about Alzheimer’s and other Dementias.  She is an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Alzheimer’s Association is the umbrella organization for all memory disorders that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Currently there are 6.9 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.  By 2025 it is projected that this number will rise to 13 million. It is estimated that 11 million Americans are providing care to individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Developing a dementia isn’t a part of normal aging. But when Alzheimer’s and other dementias are identified, they are a progressive disease that will progress and become a fatal disease. Kathleen shared that dementias are more common in blacks (twice as likely), hispanics (1 ½ as likely). Of all the cases, two thirds are women.
Memory disorders impacts are physical, emotional, social and financial, and impacts are felt by all who care for the individual diagnosed with the disease.  83% of caregivers are unpaid. 70% of the expenses associated with memory disorders are paid out-of-pocket.
Although there are no cures for Alzheimer’s and other dementia, research is ongoing and has led to the development of two medications that can slow the progression. Research is ongoing, and some is funded by  the Alzheimer’s Association.
Kathleen distributed a brochure that outlines the 10 early signs of Alzheimer’s. Read by clicking here.
Researchers believe there is not a single cause of Alzheimer’s disease. It likely develops from multiple factors, such as genetics, lifestyle and environment.  At the moment, it is believed that you can help your brain health by living a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, making sure your blood pressure is controlled, staying active and exercising, protect you head from injury, getting enough sleep, controlling your blood sugar (treating diabetes if present), and stopping smoking.
The Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) is a free service offering support for people living with dementia, caregivers, families and the public. Connect with a live person who can provide information, local resources, crisis assistance and emotional support.
Kathleen shared information about the Walk to End Alzheimer’s which will be held on October 5, 2024 in Hanover. From the Alzheimer’s webpage:
At the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®, we’re fighting for a different future. For families facing the disease today. For more time. For treatments. We’re closer than ever to stopping Alzheimer’s. But to get there, we need you. Join us for the world’s largest fundraiser to fight the disease.  Learn more at Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
She ended her talk with a quote from Jerome H. Stone, the first president of the Alzheimer’s Association, “Do something here and now. If you have some money, share it. If you have some time, do something worthwhile.”