Family struggles with Alzheimer’s Disease & What we can all do to prevent it

Meet Gram…

Last year Gram was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  The news couldn’t have been more of a shock.  Gram was only just over 70.  A beautiful, strong, vibrant woman, she has always been my example of the kind of woman I’d like to become.  Successful in her career, active in her community, and an exceptionally kind soul, it broke my heart to know that she would suffer the rest of her life from this terrible and untreatable disease. Unfortunately, Gram is just one of a growing number who are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.  And I am just one of the 1/3rd of the U.S. adult population who has a family member with the disease. Here are some of the awful facts and statistics about this disease:

  • Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and is not a normal part of aging
  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. And the only one of the top 10 causes of death that cannot currently be prevented, treated or cured
  • One in eight Americans over age 65—and nearlyone in two Americans over age 85—is currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
  • Approximately 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today, with one new case diagnosed every 69 seconds.

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend a conference presented by Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (one of the nation’s largest non-profit health providers).  Many of the bloggers attending the conference have a loved one with Alzheimer’s.  What I learned was both disheartening and hopeful.

Alzheimer’s research is only just in its infancy.  Scientists are beginning to be able to identify Alzheimer’s markers through PET scans of the brain.  Unfortunately, it takes informed and observant family members to recognize that their loved one is exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s and request further investigation.

Because Alzheimer’s is such a devastating disease many people simply cannot face the fact that their loved one may be afflicted.  Denial delays diagnosis and, therefore, treatment.  Unfortunately, treatment is most effective when started in the earliest stages of the disease.

So, how do we, as a society, as families, and as individuals fight this disease and the devastating toll it is taking on our loved ones and our aged community members?

Educate Ourselves!

The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute website is an invaluable resource for those seeking information on Alzheimer’s.  Recently, the Institute created the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. Anyone over the age of 18 can register and keep up to date on the latest news and research.  In addition, if you choose, you may potentially help further research by participating in Alzheimer’s research studies.

Put simply the Registry seeks to:

  • Keep enrollees informed of latest news and advocacy to drive focus on Alzheimer’s
  • Provide an unprecedented resource of potential study participants for prevention research
  • Offer valuable resources of simple, easy to understand news in partnership with AlzForum
The Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry needs your help!
So they can be effective in the fight against Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry would like to reach 100,000 members by June 2013.  Currently they are at about 5,000.

What can I do?
If at any time while reading this post you felt your emotions stir, hoped nothing like this would ever happen to you or your loved ones, or wondered how you could help here is what you can do…

Register with the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry.  I registered last week.  Registration is easy, fast, everything is kept confidential, and you can select what kind of emails you receive from the Registry.  Your simple act of registering with the Alzheimer’s Prevention registry will go a long way is furthering Alzheimer’s research and, hopefully, one day finding a cure.

For more info on Alzheimer’s visit:

Alzheimer’s vs. normal aging - http://www.banneralz.org/physicians-plus-referrals/symptoms-plus-diagnosis.aspx

Alzheimer’s vs. dementia, and prevention - http://banneralz.org/patients-plus-family/alzheimer’s-what-you-need-to-know.aspx

Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry- http://endalznow.org/

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and The Motherhood.  Stats and data were provided by Banner Alzheimer’s Institute.  All opinions expressed are honest and are my own.

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About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

My name is Amy. I'm a mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. I'm an Air Force wife currently living in Bossier City, Louisiana. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for me to share parenting and product advice with others. I have a lot share, but I'm no loud mouth. My blog is my way to be heard. Come join me at Oh So Savvy Mom, learn about new products, pick up some parenting tips and tricks, and have a good time.

Comments

  1. Alzheimer’s is such an important topic in my family, as most of the elders of the family have suffered from it. :(
    Jenn @therebelchick recently posted..Live a Little: Make Each Day CountMy Profile

  2. This is such an important cause!
    Alicia recently posted..Mega Bloks Lil’ Princess 3-Story Enchanted Castle Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  3. Trasina McGahey says:

    I am so sorry about your grandma! I will be registering! I haven’t had an experience with it and hopefully won’t. It’s truly a sad disease!

  4. Those stats are so scary – everyone needs to be aware!
    Melissa recently posted..Recipe: Zesty Italian Crockpot Cheesy ChickenMy Profile

  5. I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother. My grandmother had the early stages of Alzheimer’s and it was tough. I’m glad to hear there is a registry with such helpful resources.
    Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired recently posted..Creative Duct Tape Idea For Kids Who Like CarsMy Profile

    • I was so glad to learn about the registry. It is difficult knowing that there is so little you can do to help. Even those who have never had a loved one affected by alzheimer’s can help by being a part of the registry.

  6. So sorry to hear that. It’s such an awful disease because there’s no hope the disease gets progressively worse. I hope they can come up with a cure very soon! Hubby’s grandmother is showing signs of Alzheimer’s, we’re hoping for the best

  7. So sorry to hear about your grandmother, Amy! This was a great post.
    Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog recently posted..Pack Your Bags: We’re Heading to the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VirginiaMy Profile

  8. Richard Hicks says:

    very good information! My Grandmother suffers from it too and is in a nursing home. It is a horrible horrible disease.

  9. My gram suffers from Alzheimers, it is so important to educate ourselves.

  10. This is such a horrible disease. I have taken care of so many elderly with this disease. They can be a challenge. Some can be so mean and it isn’t their fault. Some are sweet and are like little children. It is such a horrible thing to have changes like this happen to people and have their personalities change so much! I wish we could quit spending on nonsense as a nation and spend some dollars on real research on this and cancer. The things that really matter. Instead of getting into wars we don’t intend to win!

  11. What a neat program, to help fight a sad disease! I’m so sorry for your family’s diagnosis!
    Emily @FamilyNLifeLV recently posted..Lamaze Pond Friends Soother for Baby’s Crib #TOMYtoysMy Profile

  12. Sandy VanHoey says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this has happened in your family. It is truly heartbreaking. I just read another blogger who has her Grandma going through this as well and how their life has changed. Nothing about her is how she use to be Thanks for spreading the work and information on registering. We need to find a cure for his.

  13. Jessica Beard says:

    My grandma and several of her family members have suffered with this terrible disease. Makes me a little nervous for my dad and I. I hope they continue to research it and find a cure!

  14. kelly willis says:

    this is not fun having a ill family member

  15. This disease must be stopped! It’s so undignified.

    It takes it’s toll on not only the patient, but family members too. There is no “business-as-usual” way to relate to someone who has Alzheimers, every day something is lost – a skill, a habit, a talent. Every one is so unique in their progression, and so unpredictable, it makes caregiving a daily nightmare.

    My own mother died at age 82, with stage 6 Alzheimers. Maybe… that’s what my grandfather had. And now, I’m helping to take care of my mother-in-law who has it. I need more public information about it.

    Thank you Amy for sharing this with the world. I just took the time to register, because it matters.

  16. Thank you for sharing your personal story – I think it will help people realize the importance of devoting more attention to stopping Alzheimer’s!

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