More than 5 million American seniors are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared that November was Alzheimer’s disease awareness month. Nearly 20 years later, the disease would claim his own life and the lives of many more. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the few diseases with a higher mortality rate today compared to the previous decade.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder leading to memory loss and decreased mental functioning. It is the most common cause of age-related memory loss resulting from brain cell failure. The exact causes of the disease remain unknown. Although there are currently no known cures for Alzheimer’s disease, there are medications, therapies, and alternative treatments available. At Western Washington Medical Group, our Department of Psychology treats and diagnoses various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Research, Causes, and Caregivers
Currently, the largest contributor to Alzheimer’s research is a nonprofit organization called The Alzheimer’s Association. Their cause has moved the medical world toward their ultimate goal of curing Alzheimer’s disease for good. Other research contributors include the National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers. Their goal is to search for ways to cure and possibly even prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Caregivers for people living with Alzheimer’s can include anyone from family members to community members, to professional caregiving facilities. During Alzheimer’s awareness month, it is important to remember the huge impact these caregiving individuals have on those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Caregiving is not an easy task; it takes time, energy, and emotional courage. We appreciate every person who has dedicated their life to taking care of our seniors. From all those with loved ones with Alzheimer’s, thank you!