I want to bring to your attention that this month is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. In the United States, there are more than 15 million Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers. Read more: http://www.alz.org/care/overview.asp#ixzz3pQKGNQZn
This month there are walks and runs across the country to raise money for Alzheimer’s and I hope you will consider joining a team and participating. Many of our AAHAM members have family members or know people who have this progressive disease. It is not a normal part of aging. Despite that many people think that Alzheimer’s is a disease of old age; alarmingly, up to 5 percent of people may have early onset Alzheimer’s in their 40s or 50s.
Today, it is estimated that over 5 million people now have Alzheimer’s and as our population ages, the costs will be staggering to care for people with this disease.
Alzheimer’s worsens over time. In late stages, people lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Someone with Alzheimer’s may live an average of 8 years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from 4 to 20 years after symptoms. As you can imagine, this disease severely affects families and caregivers.
While there isn’t a cure yet; research continues and treatments are now available to help slow the worsening of symptoms and improve the quality of life. Research is showing that what is good for your heart is also good for your brain. The low fat Mediterranean diet coupled with regular exercise may help in successful aging. Rich social connections and stimulating activities are valuable too. Staying involved and trying something new and challenging may help slow cognitive decline.
So how does this relate to AAHAM? I think the opportunities afforded to AAHAM members in volunteering, finding satisfaction beyond work, socializing and having fun all are good in laying a foundation for successful aging. So when you raise your hand to volunteer or get together with your AAHAM friends; you may be helping yourself age successfully!