Alzheimer’s Action Day!
September is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and September 21st is Alzheimer’s Action Day. 30 years ago less than 2 million Americans suffered from the disease. Today, the number has increased to nearly 5.4 million according to Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. Stigma around Alzheimer’s exists due to confusion around what the disease is and is not. The goal of this blog is to educate the public and allay all fear around the progressive and irreversible disease.
-Alois Alzheimer first described the disease in 1906 when he noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness where she experienced unpredictable behavior, language problems, and memory loss. He found abnormal clumps and tangled fibers in the brain.
What is Alzheimer’s?
- -Neurological brain disorder
- -Destroys nerve cells
- -Progressive and irreversible
- -Most common form of dementia
–Signs and symptoms:
- -Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- -Trouble with language
- -Rapid, unpredictable mood swings
- -Lack of motivation
What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
- -Dementia is a set of signs and symptoms, not a disease
- -Dementia can be caused by a variety of conditions, the most common one is Alzheimer’s
- -Mental exercises such as crossword puzzles and reading
- -Physical activity
- -Healthy diet
-It is the most common cause of dementia and accounts for an estimated 60 percent to 80 percent of cases
-Total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice are estimated to be $236 billion
-1 in 9 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease (2016 Alzheimer ‘s Disease Facts and Figures put out by the Alzheimer’s Association)
How can I help a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s with Smart911?
-Create a Smart911 Safety Profile: https://www.smart911.com
-Include a picture of a loved one living with Alzheimer’s, their home address and maybe what stage they have of Alzheimer’s including the degree of their signs and symptoms
Why does creating a Smart911 profile help?
-A loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease can often wander when they do not recognize their surroundings. By creating a Safety Profile, you are giving first responders the same vital information they would need during an Amber Alert. The most important being a picture of the person gone missing which sometimes takes the longest to obtain and send out into the field. By filling out a Safety Profile, you are helping first responders to mitigate the response time to find the person.
-At the 9-1-1 center, they can append a note to the person’s address AND mobile number which could be leveraged in an emergency (Example: Dennis Collins suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease: introduce yourself when approaching, call the person by name, repeat information if needed, turn questions into answers).
- On your Safety Profile, you could write in the notes section what hospital your loved one is associated with (VA Hospital) so that a first responder can bring the patient to their health care provider for financial reasons and convenience.
Activity to do at home:My sister made a Fine Motor Activity Blanket for one of her patients which can help strengthen and maintain muscle, increase feelings of self-worth and maintain memory.Since patients living with Alzheimer’s disease have been performing these activities for years, they are a fixed part of their long term memory. The blanket included zippers, buckles, shoe laces, Velcro straps and clips.
During World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we encourage you to participate in Alzheimer’s Action Day by creating a Smart911 Safety Profile for your loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. As researchers work towards a cure, you can take steps today to ensure Alzheimer’s patients’ safety and better protect them in the event they wander or have a medical emergency.