SAN DIEGO, November 5, 2013 — For many people, occasionally forgetting someone’s name or where the car keys are, could just be signs of normal aging.
However, for the over 5 million Americans who are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and the millions of family members and caregivers who share their journey, these kinds of problems can have an entirely different meaning, one which National Alzheimer’s Disease Month is dedicated to acknowledging.
National Alzheimer’s Disease Month was designated by the late President Ronald Reagan in 1983, who was himself stricken by Alzheimer’s disease in the later years of his life.
President Barrack Obama proclaimed November as “National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, 2013,” and stated that “This month, we stand with everyone confronting the painful reality of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis; lend our support to the families who care for them.”
The Baby Boomer Generation comprises what will become the largest senior citizen population in America’s history, as 10,000 people turn 65 every day. This progression will continue over the next 20 years.
Alzheimer’s disease, considered a disease caused primarily by the aging process, will continue to increase, reaching epidemic proportions due to the sheer numbers of our aging population.
Currently, Alzheimer’s disease has no known cure.
Though there are a variety of treatments, medications, clinical trials, and research initiatives on the horizon, we are likely a few decades away from a complete cure.
The good news is that only approximately 5% of the population is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease due to their genetic make-up.
Women are more frequently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than men, likely due to their proclivity for longer lifespan.
The Mayo Clinic suggests some of the following factors may contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease:
-Lack of exercise.
-High blood pressure.
-High blood cholesterol.
-Poorly controlled diabetes.
-A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables.
-Lack of social engagement.
With awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and its risk factors, it may be possible to reduce or defer its onset through education, healthy choice-making and smart lifestyle modifications.
One of the things you can do to be pro-active is to seek the advice of a qualified health professional to help you determine all that might be done to maximize optimal health with thought towards prevention.
The Mayo Clinic further suggests that lifelong learning and social engagement, such as achieving higher levels of formal education, a stimulating job or volunteer effort, engaging leisure activities which stimulate the brain and frequent social interactions could be critical factors in staving off Alzheimer’s disease.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer’s Association advances research to end Alzheimer’s and dementia while enhancing care for those living with the disease. Following their mantra, Go Purple with a Purpose, and the opportunity it presents for raising awareness, increasing education, enhancing activities and engaging socially, just might unlock the secret for aging gracefully and maximizing the richness of a life well-lived.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities” columnist since 2011, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.