World Alzheimer’s Month is recognized in September and the World Health Organization (WHO) noted the significance of this public health priority in its global report released earlier this year. Dementia is a syndrome that can be caused by a number of progressive disorders that affect memory, thinking and behavior, and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.
The WHO report, Dementia: a public health priority, published some startling statistics:
- 35.6 million people worldwide have dementia and the number is expected to double by 2030 (65.7 million)
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and may contribute to 60–70% of cases.
- Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide.
- Dementia has physical, psychological, social and economical impact on caregivers, families and society.
In the United States, the Alzheimer’s Association national statistics show:
- 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
- More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care valued at $210 billion for persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
- Payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012.
Alzheimer’s experts note the importance of early detection and raising awareness in reducing the disease’s stigma and battling this growing epidemic.
In cases that involve late-stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, family caregivers often look for the best care possible for their loved one, as well as support in caring for their loved one. Research has shown that hospice care can benefit dementia patients and family caregivers, particularly in a nursing home setting where hospice services can complement the care residents receive.
Whether you or someone you love may experience early-, middle-, or late-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, ask your doctor or health care provider about signs, symptoms, and/or treatment. Refer to the resources listed on this page to help with the discussion between you and your doctor.
Detailed information and resources regarding Alzheimer’s and dementia:
- The Caregiver’s Corner: Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
- World Health Organization (WHO) report: Dementia: a public health priority
- Alzheimer’s Association: Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures