For many lay people, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been known to be the fiercest of mind diseases. What most of us fail to realize (unless properly taught) is that Alzheimer’s is actually only one form of Dementia – the most common form for people over the age of 65. However, it is not the worst type of Dementia!
Since it is the most common, though, it has been studied more frequently. What NINDS reports is that ‘as many as five million Americans age 65 and older may have AD, and that number is expected to double for every five-year interval beyond age 65.’
The scary thing is that an estimated 20 to 40 percent of people with Dementia actually have some other form of the disorder. Many of those people, including those diagnosed with AD are believed to have a mixed type of Dementia; involving more than one of the disorders!
As I have stated more than once, age is the primary risk factor for individuals that develop Dementia. I have also stated that life choices (drinking excessively and smoking) can add to that.
The reason the numbers could potentially double in the next 40 years is the fact that the aging American population is increasing. The numbers of people diagnosed with one form of Dementia or another could potentially go from 40 million currently to 88 million by the year 2050 (this statistic was last updated by NINDS on June 11th, 2014!). If this statistic proves true, the personal, economic and societal demands will be devastating!
That is just one more reason why it is so very important to elderly caregivers to show that With Age Comes Respect. You just never know if you will end up where your clients are today. Then what?