|Posted by Joe B. Nester on August 13, 2015 at 12:20 AM|
Alzheimer's is a devastating disease for both patient and caregiver. In 2015, Alzheimer's continues its epidemic rampage through our senior population in South Carolina and the nation. According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are 5,300,000 people in the United States with the disease and 5,100,000 of those are over the age of 65. Almost two thirds or 3.200,000 are women. By 2025, it is estimated 7,000,000 people will have the disease, which is a 40 percent increase in just 10 years.
There is new evidence suggesting the disparity between men and women is not just attributed to a longer life span for women. In a recent Washington Post article, Kristine Yaffe, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at the University of California at San Francisco said "It's not just that women are living to be older, there's something else going on in terms of biology and environment for woman compared to men that may make them at greater risk or, if they have some symptoms, may change the progression.”
There are some promising drugs on the horizon and the BBC recently reported on one from the Eli Lilly Company that may have the ability to slow the progression of the disease. Solanezumab, has shown some promise in people with early stages of the disease and in some tests halted progression of the disease by as much as one-third.
Slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's, if proven to be successful, would truly be a breakthrough in the fight for a cure. Today medications only deal with symptoms of the disease and do not have any effect on the progression.
Meanwhile as researches and scientists work toward a cure, caregivers are using more innovative approaches for connecting with their patients. Music, light, art, aroma along with dozens of other techniques for stimulation are helping caregivers provide a better quality of life for the patient or loved one.
Education for families and caregivers is still one of the most significant components for improving the experience of both caregiver and patient. Learning new skills and techniques that allow a caregiver to enter the world of an Alzheimer patient is invaluable for ultimately gaining the understanding and compassion required for a positive interaction.
Categories: Hospice Care