The Alzheimer’s disease tsunami is here. The prevalence of the disease is 1 in 10 seniors over age 65. The Baby Boomer population has made the numbers of those affected grow to 5.8 million Americans according to the Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures 2019. There are an estimated 89,000 in Louisiana. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in adults and the only one of the top 10 with no diagnostic test, no effective treatment and no cure. It is always fatal. That hasn’t changed in more than 100 years. Your recent newspaper article exposed the fact that there is no magic pill. Alzheimer’s disease is proving to have multiple causes, and often there is more than one form of dementia. Like heart and cancer diseases research is finding a healthy living style is the best way to reduce the risk. What is heart healthy is brain healthy.
Sept. 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day, and while a cure is sought, we continue to hope. For those affected now, there is help. Alzheimer’s affected individuals and their caregivers may obtain information, resources, and support on this journey that typically lasts 8 to 10 years. Charlie’s Place Activity and Respite Centers (Baton Rouge and Gonzales) provide a purposeful day for those affected, while giving caregivers a break from the 24/7 job of caring for their loved one. Education and support programs are provided throughout the area. A helpline phone is manned weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (225) 334-7494. No one should have to go through this alone. With Alzheimer’s Services, you don’t have to. We are here to help.
Barbara W. Auten
executive director, Alzheimer's Services of the Capital Area