According to the 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures released March 15 by the Alzheimer’s Association, there are nearly 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in the United States — 37 percent more than reported last year. In 2010, these individuals provided 17 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $202.6 billion.
The rising prevalence of Alzheimer’s places increasingly intense demands — emotional, physical and financial —on the millions of family members and friends who care for those with Alzheimer’s. “Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just affect those with it. It invades families and the lives of everyone around them,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association.
As the Alzheimer’s epidemic continues to escalate, more and more Americans will experience the strain of this disease. Today, an estimated 5.4 million individuals are living with Alzheimer’s. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
2011 Facts and Figures also includes a special report focusing on early detection and diagnosis. Increasing evidence suggests that early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and timely intervention is beneficial both for people with the disease and their caregivers. Experts believe that early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and early interventions with improved therapies provide the greatest hope to delay or stop additional damage to the brain.
To help, learn the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease© and be aware of them in yourself and others. The signs are a key tool in increasing recognition of changes that indicate Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Memory changes that disrupt daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
If you or someone you care about is experiencing any of the 10 warning signs, please see a doctor to find the cause. For more information about the signs, early detection and diagnosis or the Facts and Figures report, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org or 1.800.272.3900.