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Alzheimer's group to hold special service

Alzheimer's group to hold special service

November 11th, 2017 by Ashley Gardner in Texarkana News

In recognition of November as National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness month, the Alzheimer's Alliance Tri-State is hosting a Candlelight Service at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Williams Memorial Methodist Church.

"This gives us an opportunity to honor and remember those with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia," said Terrie Arnold, Alzheimer's Alliance executive director.

Candles will be provided at the event.

Raising awareness of Alzheimer's and the availability of local resources is the goal, not only in November, but all year long.

"We hope to continue to raise awareness and to let families in our community know we are here to provide resources and support for those that are dealing with this horrible disease," Arnold said.

The Alzheimer's Alliance has resources and educational materials for families dealing with Alzheimer's, support groups and the Our Place Day Respite Center, where caregivers can take their loved one with dementia and for a much-needed break.

People with Alzheimer's see a slow decline in brain function resulting in memory loss and difficulties with language. They can experience psychiatric disorders, including depression and delusions, and a decline in the ability to care for themselves. Because of the nature of the illness, Alzheimer's is particularly hard on the caregivers.

"By offering the respite care, it enables the person with the disease to be in a socially stimulating environment and it allows the caregivers time to rest and take care of their own personal needs," Arnold said. "Being a caregiver for anyone is extremely stressful but when you add the component of Alzheimer's, it's extremely demanding. Caregivers tend to put themselves last and they don't take care of themselves the way they need to."

The cause of Alzheimer's isn't known, but researchers believe it's a combination of lifestyle, genetic and environmental factors.

"In more than 90 percent of people with Alzheimer's, symptoms do not appear until after age 60. The incidence of the disease increases with age and doubles every 5 years beyond age 65," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The problem is growing as a large segment of the United States' population ages.

In 2015, there were 47 million people in the U.S. who were 65 or older, and by 2060 that number is expected to be 98 million, or nearly one in four, according to the CDC.

"Statistics show the incidence of Alzheimer's is rising, and that trend will continue," Arnold said.

Even though there isn't a cure for Alzheimer's, early diagnosis is still important, as there are some medications that could delay the onset of more severe symptoms.

"There is no cure as of now but there are medications to help slow the progression. There is continued research to find new treatments and eventually we hope a cure," Arnold said.

Facts about Alzheimer's:

  •     It's the sixth leading cause of death among U.S. adults.
  •     It's estimated in 2017 the total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice care for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias will be $259 billion.
  •     More than 15 million Americans are providing about 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care for family and friends with Alzheimer's and other dementias. The total hours of that care is about 230.1 billion.
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