Alzheimer’s Disease and the Family Caregiver

 In General

By 2030, Alzheimer’s is expected to impair more than 7.7
million Americans, and that number is set to reach more than 16 million by

Globally, more than 35 million have been diagnosed with
Alzheimer’s … experts agree the real number is much higher, directly costing governments, businesses and families
across the globe more than $604 billion, or roughly 1% if the world’s annual
Gross Domestic Product.

The chance of developing the associated symptoms doubles
every five years after age 65.

45% of elders will develop some form of dementia between the
ages of 80 and 85 years old.

The under-appreciated care accounts for more than 12.5
billion hours of unpaid work every year in the United States.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, communication becomes
increasingly difficult, so caregivers should try short sentences, ask simple
question requiring yes or no answers, make eye contact during the conversation
and add hand gestures. A patient’s agitation may also be caused by a physical
issue a sufferer is failing to communicate. If the usual calming methods don’t
work, caregivers should consider making an appointment with a physician.

Reprinted with permission from Aging
Today 31
:6, November-December 2010. Copyright © 2010. American Society on
Aging, San Francisco, California.

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