Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is a public health crisis which is only growing.

The Alzheimer’s Association annual Fact and Figures report was recently released and more than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and by 2050, that number may grow to more than 12 million.

In Nebraska, there are currently 35,000 people living with the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease impacts more than just the person living with disease. In Nebraska, there are more than 61,000 family members and friends who provide unpaid care to a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Women account for almost 60% of caregivers for those afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease. This impacts their long-term health and many times, their financial health. Nearly 19 percent of women Alzheimer’s caregivers had to leave the workforce either to become a caregiver or because their caregiving duties became too burdensome.

In addition, this year a special report, Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer’s in America was included with Fact and Figures. It examines the perspectives and experiences of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native and White Americans in regard to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. The report also examines the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • Health and socioeconomic disparities and systemic racism contribute to increased Alzheimer’s and dementia risk in communities of color. According to the report, older Blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately more likely to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In addition, both groups are more likely to have missed diagnoses than older Whites.
  • Two-thirds of Black Americans (66%) believe it is harder for them to get excellent care for Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Likewise, 2 in 5 Native Americans (40%) and Hispanic Americans (39%) believe their own race or ethnicity makes it harder to get care, as do one-third of Asian Americans (34%).

However, there are ways we can make a difference.

The Alzheimer’s Association exists to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all those impacted on the Alzheimer’s journey; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

What can you do?

For providers, the Association has tools and training to learn more about diagnosis and care planning. The no-cost Approaching Alzheimer’s training is a great place to start.

The Alzheimer’s Association also offers a variety of support services – some available 24/7!  The first and most important service we provide is a 24 hour/7 days a week, 365 days a year helpline.  Master’s level clinicians are available to answer any questions you may have and offer support services to those affected by Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. The number is 1-800-272-3900.

In addition, we offer a variety of educational programs that are available anytime online at training.alz.org as well as live Zoom sessions. Topics include warning signs, responding to behaviors, how to reduce your risk for dementia and more.  We also offer support groups for caregivers as they navigate the sometimes difficult waters of caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s. Other support services are available at alz.org.

Want to make sure you know the warning signs of Alzheimer’s?

Join us for The 10 Warning Signs on April 26th at 10:00 am CST for a FREE live session.

One of our most important roles is raising awareness and increasing knowledge of Alzheimer’s and dementia. The more people understand about Alzheimer’s and dementia, the more likely they will take action when there are signs and symptoms and we can work to break the stigma associated with this disease.

written by Julie Chytil

 

Julie Chytil | Director of Programs
Alzheimer’s Association, Nebraska Chapter

24/7 Helpline: 800.272.3900 | www.alz.org/nebraska

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